“It was surprising to us that [he] was so into it that he came to the table [read], and wonderfully surprising how cool he was, how funny he was and how unassuming he was,” says executive producer Mike Henry, who voices Cleveland Brown and other characters on the show. “He’s just a great presence. We knew Kanye was a big Family Guy fan because he invited [creator] Seth [MacFarlane] to his house a year or two ago,” adds Henry. “And there was a mention on his blog when the spin-off was announced that he was excited about it. We knew he was a big fan and a lot of us are fans of his.”
New to the art of voicing animation, West came early to meet the cast and the writers. Soaking up the table-read process, West, 31, got pointers from series regular Sanaa Lathan, who plays Cleveland Brown’s wife Donna, and excelled at improvisation. Also in the episode, which will air in 2010, is Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson. The Cleveland Show is set to premiere on FOX in the fall of 2009.
Producers are in talks to write Kanye into the next 21 episodes as a character named Kenny West.