'Family Guy' Reveals YouTube Star Arif Zahir as New Voice of Cleveland
Family Guy is making way for a new Cleveland as the series unveiled the voice actor who will fill the fan favorite role.
Earlier this year, the original voice of Cleveland, Mike Henry, stepped down from the role following backlash over white actors voicing Black characters. The Fox series will kick off its 18th season this Sunday, September 27, just days after it was revealed that the Seth MacFarlane-created comedy had been renewed for Seasons 19 and 20 at the network.
The actor taking over is Arif Zahir, best known for doing impressions of different characters on his YouTube channel where he has over 6 million subscribers. After Fox announced the news of Zahir's casting, the actor released a statement via Twitter.
— Family Guy (@FamilyGuyonFOX) September 25, 2020
"Firstly, I'm eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity," Zahir wrote. "When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown - my favorite cartoon character of all time - I was shocked and saddened, assuming we'd never see him again.
"To Mike Henry, Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin and Seth MacFarlane, thank you for this incredible gift," Zahir continued. "And to the millions of fans who love this show, I promise not to let you down."
If you're concerned about Zahir's ability to imitate Cleveland's iconic voice, look no further than his YouTube channel where he repeatedly shows off his vocal talents. And for fans of Henry, have no fear as the talented voice performer will continue to be involved in Family Guy, voicing recurring characters such as Herbert the Pervert, Bruce the Performance Artist, and more.
Stay tuned for Zahir's takeover of the role and don't miss Family Guy's Season 18 premiere on Fox.
Family Guy, Season 18, Premieres, Sunday, September 27, 9:30/8:30c, Fox