The Cleveland Show

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The Cleveland Show
GenreAnimated sitcom
Black sitcom
Created by
Voices of
Theme music composerWalter Murphy
Opening theme"The Cleveland Show" (performed by Mike Henry)
ComposerWalter Murphy
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes88 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Seth MacFarlane
  • Richard Appel
  • Mike Henry
  • Kirk Benson
  • Dennis McElroy (season 4)
Running time21–22 minutes
Production companies
Original networkFox
Original releaseSeptember 27, 2009 (2009-09-27) –
May 19, 2013 (2013-05-19)

The Cleveland Show is an American animated sitcom created by Seth MacFarlane, Richard Appel, and Mike Henry for the Fox Broadcasting Company. A spin-off of Family Guy, and the second television series in the franchise, the series centers on Cleveland Brown, his new wife Donna Tubbs-Brown, and their children Cleveland Brown Jr., Roberta Tubbs, and Rallo Tubbs. Similar to Family Guy, it exhibited much of its humor in the form of cutaway gags that often lampoon American culture, though it used significantly fewer than Family Guy. Fox cancelled the series after 4 seasons. The animation was produced by Fox Television Animation.

The series was conceived by MacFarlane in 2007 after developing Family Guy and American Dad! for the Fox network. MacFarlane centered the show on Family Guy character Cleveland Brown and created new characters for Cleveland's family members. One preexisting character, Cleveland's son Cleveland Jr. (Junior), was redesigned as an obese, soft-spoken teen, as opposed to his depiction as a younger, hyperactive child with average body weight on Family Guy.

The series premiered on September 27, 2009, and ended on May 19, 2013, with a total of 88 episodes over the course of 4 seasons. The Cleveland Show was nominated for one Annie Award, one Primetime Emmy Award, and two Teen Choice Awards, but received mixed reviews from media critics. Nearly a year after the series' cancelation,[1] Cleveland returned to Family Guy, accompanied by the rest of the Brown-Tubbs family, in the season 12 episode "He's Bla-ack!" during which his show was mercilessly mocked by his friends.



Seth MacFarlane initially conceived The Cleveland Show in 2007 while working on his other two animated series, Family Guy and American Dad!.[2][3]

Mike Henry and his characters

The Cleveland Show first appeared on the development slate at Fox in early 2008, under no official name for the pilot, after a report that Fox had purchased the series from creators.[4][5] The pilot was named The Cleveland Show in May 2008, when it appeared on the primetime slate for the 2008–09 television season, although it wasn't officially on the network schedule.[6] Shortly after a report that King of the Hill just ended, leaving air time for The Cleveland Show, the show was picked up for a full season after an additional nine episodes of the show were ordered.[7] In May 2009, The Cleveland Show appeared on the primetime slate for the 2009–10 television season, for airing on Sunday nights at 8:30 pm[8] On June 15, 2009, it was announced that The Cleveland Show would premiere on September 27, 2009.[9]

MacFarlane and Henry pitched a 22-minute to Fox which aired on September 27, 2009, but had been leaked on the internet in June 2009.[citation needed] Even before the pilot episode premiered, the show had already been renewed for a 22-episode second season. After the first season of the show aired, it was given the green light to start production. On June 10, 2010, less than three weeks into the first season's summer hiatus, it was announced that Fox was ordering a third season.[10] A fourth season was announced on May 9, 2011, just a few days before the second season concluded.[11]

Executive producers[edit]

Seth MacFarlane, Mike Henry and Richard Appel have served as executive producers on the series since the first season.[12]

Voice cast[edit]

Mike Henry voices two of the show's main characters: Cleveland Brown and Rallo Tubbs. The voice of Cleveland was developed originally for Family Guy by Henry after being influenced by one of his best friends who had a very distinct regional accent.[13] For the voice of Rallo, Henry stated that he created the voice over twenty years before; he had used it while making prank phone calls.

Sanaa Lathan voices Donna Tubbs, the wife of Cleveland, stepmother of Cleveland Brown Jr., and mother of Roberta and Rallo Tubbs. In developing the character, Lathan said that the producers "wanted her to be educated, but to have some edge."[14] Prior to voicing Donna, Lathan had only one other voice credit in a relatively low-budget film entitled The Golden Blaze. In addition to the show, she also primarily worked as an actress in such films as Alien vs. Predator, Blade, Love & Basketball and The Family That Preys.

Reagan Gomez-Preston plays Roberta Tubbs, the stepdaughter of Cleveland. Gomez has stated that she uses her own voice to portray Roberta and that she herself gets mistaken for a fifteen-year-old over the phone "all the time."[14] Before Gomez was cast as Roberta, Nia Long (who co-starred with Lathan in The Best Man franchise) provided the character's voice during the first thirteen episodes. According to Long, she was replaced because producers decided they wanted an actress with a younger-sounding voice, given that the character is a teenager.[15]

Kevin Michael Richardson, a recurring guest voice on Family Guy and American Dad!, portrays Cleveland, Jr., as well as Cleveland's next-door neighbor Lester Krinklesac. In portraying Cleveland, Jr., Richardson drew inspiration from a character named Patrick that he had played on the NBC drama series ER who was mentally impaired and wore a football helmet. For Lester, Richardson stated in an interview that, being African American, he had "run into a few rednecks in [his] time", and decided to simply perform a stereotypical redneck impression for the voice of Lester.[14]

Jason Sudeikis plays Holt Richter, one of Cleveland's drinking buddies with short stature, and Terry Kimple, one of Cleveland's longtime friends who now works with him at Waterman Cable. Sudeikis originally began as a recurring cast member, but starting with the episode "Harder, Better, Faster, Browner", he was promoted to a series regular.

Seth MacFarlane played Tim the Bear up until season 3 episode 10, which MacFarlane admits is a "Steve Martin impression [...] a Wild and Crazy Guy impression". Jess Harnell voices the character for the rest of the series from the next episode onward, as MacFarlane had a busy schedule which kept him away from voicing the character, while he was working on Ted.

Other voices include that of Arianna Huffington as Tim's wife Arianna the Bear, Nat Faxon as Tim and Arianna's son Raymond the Bear, Jamie Kennedy as Roberta's boyfriend Gabriel Friedman, a.k.a. " Federline Jones", Will Forte as Principal Wally, Frances Callier as Evelyn "Cookie" Brown, Craig Robinson as LeVar "Freight Train" Brown and David Lynch as Gus the bartender.

Main cast members
Mike Henry Sanaa Lathan Reagan Gomez-Preston Kevin Michael Richardson Jason Sudeikis Seth MacFarlane
Cleveland Brown and Rallo Tubbs Donna Tubbs Roberta Tubbs Cleveland Brown, Jr. and Lester Krinklesac Holt Richter and Terry Kimple Tim the Bear (seasons 1–3) and
Dr. Fist (seasons 1–2)


The Brown-Tubbs family. Clockwise from top left: Cleveland, Donna, Roberta, Rallo, and Cleveland, Jr.

Cleveland's newly introduced family includes his new wife, Donna Tubbs-Brown (voiced by Sanaa Lathan);[16] Donna's daughter Roberta (originally voiced by Nia Long, but later voiced by Reagan Gomez-Preston); and Donna's son Rallo (voiced by Mike Henry).[17][18] Cleveland, Jr. underwent a complete redesign for the show, becoming sensitive and soft-spoken.


Crossovers with other animated sitcoms[edit]

The Cleveland Show characters have appeared on other animated sitcoms and vice versa. The Cleveland Show crossovers have all involved two other animated programs. Both the other two animated programs were also created by Seth MacFarlaneFamily Guy and American Dad!. There are also many brief cameos of characters from three other Fox animated shows, The Simpsons, Futurama, and King of the Hill.

Syndication and streaming[edit]

In July 2010, the Turner Broadcasting System picked up syndication rights, for their networks TBS and later, Adult Swim.[19] The series first aired on Adult Swim in the United States on September 29, 2012. On July 14, 2018, Viacom later picked up the rights to the series and the series left Adult Swim and TBS on September 9, 2018. The series began airing on Comedy Central in the United States on October 8, 2018, until April 29, 2022, with ViacomCBS sister networks BET and VH1 airing the series starting on August 31, 2020, and September 14, 2020, respectively.[20][21] The series is available for streaming on Hulu.

The series began airing on FXX on September 20, 2021.[22]

Internationally, The Cleveland Show is available to stream on Star on Disney+.


On April 17, 2013, Fox dismissed increasing rumors that The Cleveland Show had been canceled, reporting rather that renewal of the series was undetermined as of that time.[23][24] However, on May 13, 2013, in the New York Daily News, Fox Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly confirmed the show's cancellation.[1] Following the series cancellation, it was confirmed that Cleveland would be moving back to Quahog with the rest of the Brown-Tubbs family to rejoin the Family Guy cast.[25]


Critical reception[edit]

The Cleveland Show initially received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Metacritic gave the show a score of 57 out of 100.[26] Tom Shales of The Washington Post spoke very negatively about both the show and MacFarlane himself, describing him as "no better than the dirty old man hanging around playgrounds with naughty pictures or risque jokes as lures".[27] Roberto Bianco of USA Today wrote a similarly negative review, suggesting that the easiest fix for its problem was "cancellation".[28] John McWhorter of The New Republic called it "a patronizing mess" and "basically Family Guy in blackface". He added: "What isn't black in it is so shamelessly ripped off from Family Guy that it's hard to believe it's the product of creators who are usually so studiously 'post-' obvious stunts of the sort."[29]

Matt Rouse of TV Guide wrote, "The lamest, most unnecessary spin-off since Private Practice, Cleveland rests on the shoulders of the hopelessly bland title character".[30] However, Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was more positive about the program, writing that although The Cleveland Show was "just as rude-crude" as Family Guy, it also had "more warmth" due to Cleveland being a more likable character than Peter Griffin. Owen also praised the character of Tim the Bear, stating that "Tim is by far the most amusing creation."[31] Jonathan Storm of the Philadelphia Inquirer, also spoke positively, stating that "[Cleveland] sounds funnier, and he shows way more personality than we've seen in his many years on Family Guy. [...] While it seems to be missing some of the over-the-top offensive bites we're used to on Family Guy, and Cleveland's new drinking buddies aren't quite as amusing as the Quagmire, Joe, and Peter combination - there's a lot to like here."[citation needed]

Nielsen ratings[edit]

Season No. of


Timeslot (ET) Network First aired Last aired Overall ratings
Date Premiere viewers (in millions) Date Finale viewers (in millions) Rank Viewers (in millions)
1 2009–10 21 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–4, 6–10, 12–21)
Sunday 9:30 PM (Episodes 4, 11)
FOX September 27, 2009 9.51 May 23, 2010 4.94 72 6.38
2 2010–11 22 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–8)
Sunday 9:00 PM (Episode 9)
Sunday 9:30 PM (Episodes 10–22)
September 26, 2010 6.61 May 15, 2011 4.9 90 6.12
3 2011–12 22 Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 1–2, 7–8)
Sunday 9:30 PM (Episodes 3, 6, 17, 19)
Sunday 7:30 PM (4–5, 8–16, 18, 20–22)
September 25, 2011 6.13 May 20, 2012 3.01 144 4.03
4 2012–13 23 Sunday 7:30 PM (Episodes 1–3, 5–11, 14, 17–19, 21, 23)
Sunday 9:30 PM (Episodes 4, 16)
Sunday 8:30 PM (Episodes 12–13, 15)
Sunday 7:00 PM (Episodes 20, 22)
October 7, 2012 4.47 May 19, 2013 2.43 129 3.05

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2010 Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Animated Show The Cleveland Show Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy The Cleveland Show Nominated
2011 Annie Awards Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program "Murray Christmas" Nominated
NAMIC Vision Awards Animation The Cleveland Show Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV: Animated Show The Cleveland Show Nominated
2012 Artios Award Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Television Animation Robert McGee and Ruth Lambert Nominated
2013 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Awards Top Television Series The Cleveland Show Won
People's Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Show The Cleveland Show Nominated

Home media[edit]

Internationally The Cleveland Show is available to stream on Star on Disney + with all four seasons.[32]

DVD Title # of Disc(s) Years active # of Episodes DVD release
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 4 2009 & 2010 21 September 28, 2010[33] October 11, 2010[34] June 29, 2011[35]
Season Two 4 2010 & 2011 22 September 27, 2011[36] January 30, 2012[37] November 2, 2011[38]
Season Three 3 2011 & 2012 22 March 1, 2013[39]
Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R
Season Four 3 2012 & 2013 23 December 17, 2013[40]
Manufactured on demand (MOD) on DVD-R


  1. ^ a b Hinckley, David (May 13, 2013). "Fox announces 2013-14 fall schedule, which includes return of Kiefer Sutherland's '24'". NY Daily News. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  2. ^ Breaking News – FOX Announces Fall Premiere Dates for the 2009–2010 Season. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  3. ^ Fox Primetime Archived October 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Fox Flash (September 27, 2009). Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  4. ^ Breaking News – Development Update: February 29 – March 4. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  5. ^ Breaking News – Development Update: Monday, May 5. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  6. ^ Breaking News – FOX Announces Primetime Slate for 2008–2009 Season. (May 15, 2008). Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  7. ^ Breaking News – OH... Hey, Y'All! FOX Orders Full Season of "The Cleveland Show". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  8. ^ Breaking News – FOX Announces Primetime Slate for 2009–2010 Season. (May 18, 2009). Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  9. ^ Breaking News – FOX Announces Fall Premiere Dates for the 2009–2010 Season. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  10. ^ Breaking News – FOX Picks Up Third Season of "The Cleveland Show". Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  11. ^ Still, Jennifer (May 9, 2011). "'Family Guy', 'Cleveland Show' renewed by Fox". Digital Spy. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Breaking News – Development Update: Monday, May 4. (May 4, 2009). Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  13. ^ "Mike Henry: The Origins of Cleveland and Herbert". YouTube. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c "The Voices Behind 'Cleveland'". Entertainment Weekly. October 2, 2009. Archived from the original on January 17, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2009.
  15. ^ Morales, Wilson. "Good Hair: An Interview With Nia Long". Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  16. ^ Schnieder, Michael (July 13, 2008). "'Cleveland' finds a balance". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2008.
  17. ^ Goldman, Eric (November 10, 2008). "The Cleveland Show: Update on Family Guy Spinoff". IGN. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  18. ^ FoxFlash image page Archived January 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  19. ^ Adult Swim, TBS Acquire Syndicated Rights To ‘The Cleveland Show’ For Fall 2013 – Ratings | TVbytheNumbers. (July 6, 2010). Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  20. ^ Animator+ (September 12, 2020). "The Cleveland Show will premiere on VH1 this Monday night (early Tuesday) and will air weeknights from 2am to 4am". Twitter. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  21. ^ Animator+ (August 16, 2020). "The Cleveland Show will premiere on BET with back to back episodes on August 31st". Twitter. Retrieved August 23, 2020.
  22. ^ @animatedplus (September 12, 2021). "FXX's new weekly lineup starting September 20th" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  23. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (April 17, 2013). "Fox: No Decision Yet on Fate of 'Cleveland Show'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  24. ^ Hibberd, James (April 17, 2013). "'Cleveland Show' may be cancelled". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
  25. ^ Schwarz, John (July 15, 2013). "Seth MacFarlane confirms the return of Cleveland Brown…to Family Guy". Bubbleblabber.
  26. ^ "The Cleveland Show reviews at". Metacritic. Retrieved December 20, 2012.
  27. ^ Shales, Tom (September 29, 2009). "Fox's 'Cleveland Show' Is a Cartoon Blight". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  28. ^ Bianco, Roberto (September 25, 2009). "Embrace Fox's 'Brothers' but stay out of 'Cleveland'". USA Today. David Hunke. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  29. ^ McWhorter, John (October 13, 2009). "Just a Cartoon, But Still: Is Family Guy in Blackface Funny?". The New Republic. Elizabeth W. Sheldon. Retrieved February 8, 2010.
  30. ^ TV Guide September 7.13. 2009 pg. 60.
  31. ^ Owen, Rob (September 27, 2009). "Tuned In: At home with Cleveland". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. John Robinson Block. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
  32. ^ "Watch the Cleveland Show | Full episodes | Disney+".
  33. ^ "The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season One: Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  34. ^ "The Cleveland Show – Season 1 [DVD]: Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson: Film & TV". Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  35. ^ "Cleveland Show, The: Season 1 | DVD Movies & TV Shows, Genres, Comedy : JB HI-FI". June 29, 2011. Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  36. ^ "The Cleveland Show: The Complete Season Two: Cleveland Show: Movies & TV". Amazon. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  37. ^ "The Cleveland Show – Season 2 [DVD] [NTSC]: Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson, Reagan Gomez, Seth MacFarlane: Film & TV". Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  38. ^ "Cleveland Show, The – Season 2 | DVD Movies & TV Shows, Genres, Comedy: JB HI-FI". Archived from the original on January 1, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  39. ^ "The Cleveland Show Season 3: Mike Henry, Sanaa Lathan, Kevin Michael Richardson, Regan Gomez, Jason Sudeikis, Seth MacFarlane, Richard Appel: Movies & TV". Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  40. ^ Lambert, David (December 19, 2013). "The Cleveland Show - 'The Complete Season 4' - The Show's Last - Is Now On DVD!". Archived from the original on December 30, 2013.

External links[edit]