The Cleveland Show's third season debuted on the Fox network on September 25, 2011, and concluded on May 20, 2012.
On June 10, 2010, it was announced that the series had been renewed for a third season. According to co-creator Mike Henry, musical guests on season three were to originally include Kanye West, will.i.am, Nicki Minaj, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Darren Criss, Questlove, and Fergie. With the exception of Fergie and Darren Criss, all musical guests were included on Season 4. The hurricane-themed crossover episode with Family Guy and American Dad! aired on October 2, 2011. It was originally going to air in the second season but was postponed due to the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak in the Southern United States.
Cleveland (Mike Henry) is upset when he finds out that his best friend, Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane), came to Stoolbend and did not call him to hang out. In an effort to bond with his other friends, he takes them on a camping trip hosted by guest star Ric Flair that quickly turns into a dangerous redneck, hillbilly huntdown. Meanwhile, Rallo (Mike Henry) competes in a Quiz Bowl tournament after being forced to enter by Donna (Sanaa Lathan) to prove that he is just as smart as the other kids in his class.
When a storm hits Stoolbend, the Brown/Tubbs family tries to salvage what's left of their vacation. Meanwhile, Cleveland Jr. shocks everyone with a proclamation of his religious beliefs.
When Cleveland and Rallo both have to come home early after getting scared while at their respective slumber parties, Donna makes them spend the night in a haunted house to prove how brave they are. Elsewhere, Cleveland’s new friend is on a murderous revenge rampage after being rejected by Cleveland and his other pals, and Roberta (Reagan Gomez) is stuck in a love triangle between a vampire and a werewolf.
Will Arnett guest-voices on an all-new Thanksgiving-themed episode that also features an original song performed by Rallo and Holt. When Holt misses his plane to Florida for Thanksgiving, he reveals that he wasn’t even invited to his estranged family’s holiday dinner. To help him get over his Thanksgiving blues, Rallo invites Holt’s father (guest voice Arnett) over for the holidays which ends up making Holt’s family relationship worse. Meanwhile, Cleveland tries to open an airport bar but ends up drunk and flying a stolen airplane.
Cleveland (Mike Henry) is embarrassed when he learns that Cleveland Jr. (Kevin Michael Richardson) was the only student to attend school on “skip day.” Meanwhile, Rallo (Henry) gets in a hit-and-run accident with Kendra (guest voice Aseem Batra) and her scooter
When Rallo's elderly best friend Murray gets a new girlfriend named Hazel (guest voice Kathryn Joosten), Rallo realizes that Hazel is after Murray's money and tries to save him from making a costly mistake. Meanwhile, Donna tells Cleveland that he's too fat and needs to lost weight, so she signs him up for the gym. But instead of working out, Cleveland take a lazy short-cut to achieve results.
To help pass time while posing in a holiday nativity scene, Cleveland (Mike Henry) tells his family his own version of one of his favorite holiday stories, “Die Hard.” In Cleveland’s version, when Waterman Cable Company is taken hostage on Christmas Eve by a group of terrorists, including Tim the Bear (Seth MacFarlane), Lester (Kevin Michael Richardson), Federline (Jamie Kennedy) and Kendra (Aseem Batra), a barefoot Cleveland – wearing a tank-top much like the one Bruce Willis wore in the movie – must endure window-shattering shoot-outs and fist fights with his friends to save his wig-wearing wife, Donna (Sanaa Lathan), in a parody of the greatest holiday-themed blockbuster movie ever told.
When Jr. (Kevin Michael Richardson) starts dating a very attractive young lady, Cleveland (Mike Henry) gets green with envy and suspicious of her motives. When things start to get too serious between the two young lovers, Cleveland suspects that the young woman is using Jr. to get a green card.
After getting himself into several cultural misunderstandings with his new and popular Latina neighbor Choni (guest voice Rosie Perez), Cleveland attempts to make amends by demonstrating his knowledge of Latino culture. But Cleveland gets into a bind when he offers to babysit Choni's son and winds up losing him. Meanwhile, Junior sets up his new wife Cecilia on a Valentine's Day date but his jealousy gets the best of him.
Determined to claim the first place trophy at the annual "Dancing with the Stools" ballroom dance competition, Donna recruits Cleveland Jr. to be her partner. But their hopes of taking home the big prize miss a beat when Cleveland Jr. professes his love for Donna -- just moments before their well-rehearsed routine. Meanwhile, Roberta babysits Rallo for a week, and learns that domestic responsibilities are not as easy as they seem.
Excited to spend quality father-stepson bonding time with Rallo, Cleveland (Mike Henry) takes the boy to his very first magic show, where they get hired to be the opening act. Thanks to Rallo’s sharp wit in the role of the puppet, Cleveland and Rallo’s ventriloquist act becomes a hit. As their act gets rave reviews by fans and ventriloquist critic Graham Kensington (guest voice Cranston), Rallo grows tired of Cleveland taking all the credit for their success and refuses to be taken for a dummy.
When Donna has a midlife crisis, Cleveland must come up with a clever way to sneak off with his buddies on a hunting trip without her finding out. But a hunting accident leaves Cleveland slightly deaf, and his scheme to agree to all of Donna's ideas backfires when she makes a drastic life change and decides to go back to school. Meanwhile, Junior is up for an easy reelection as Student Body President, until Roberta decides to run against him.
Cleveland relies on energy supplements to keep himself awake in order to work overtime and earn enough vacation time to go on a Spring Break cruise with his family. But when his energy pill addiction forces him into rehab and his desperate attempt to escape to the cruise liner goes wrong, he finds himself held hostage by pirates threatening the safety of those aboard the ship, including his own family.
Cleveland is frustrated and jealous when his dad, Freight Train, takes more interest in Cleveland Jr. than he does in him, so he looks for a new father figure. Meanwhile, Rallo buys a sports car.
Cleveland tries to get a grip on his racial identity after he's labeled "the whitest man in America" because of his taste in pop music. Meeting his childhood nanny helps him succeed.
After Donna becomes jealous when Cleveland gets too close to a female coworker, a music video made from footage of his workplace shenanigans goes viral and attracts the attention of a big-time music producer. He's attracted to Donna as well, making Cleveland jealous.
One of Rallo's pranks goes too far and gets Cleveland Jr. kicked out of the scouts. So Cleveland takes matters into his own hands, and threatens to send Rallo to juvenile detention.
It's Homecoming Weekend at Cleveland's alma mater, so he volunteers to accompany Roberta on a college visit as an excuse to relive his crazy college days. But when Cleveland's fraternity chapter gives him a less-than-brotherly welcome, Roberta comes to the rescue and discovers a bright future in higher education. Meanwhile, Rallo helps Cleveland Jr. learn to sleep without his beloved stuffed animal.
Devout church choir girl Vanessa (guest voice Fergie) catches Cleveland Jr.'s eye, and he eagerly volunteers to go on a church trip to be in her good graces. Vanessa's fellow choir member, Hunter (guest voice Criss), confronts him for going to church for the wrong reasons, but the tables turn when Vanessa winds up being a handful for the boys. Meanwhile, Donna's ex-boyfriend returns home from Iraq and discovers that she is married.
Cleveland Jr. profiles his dad for a report on his favorite American, but when Cleveland falls off the toilet and suffers a concussion, he loses Cleveland Jr.'s admiration. Meanwhile, Rallo gets excited when he realizes he's grown tall enough to ride his favorite roller coaster.
Hoping to lift Donna's spirits on Mother's Day, Cleveland hires an actress (guest voice Loretta Devine) to play Donna's estranged mother, Dee Dee Tubbs. But when an unexpected event leads the real Dee Dee (guest voice Phylicia Rashad) to find Cleveland, he stages one last effort to reunite Donna with her mother, and the unlikely meeting helps the two women forge a new mother-daughter bond.
Roberta gives Cleveland Jr. a makeover, and his stylish new look provides him with the confidence to approach Daisy (guest star Rashida Jones), a misfit who catches his attention. But when Daisy mistakes Cleveland Jr. for a woman, they decide to make a statement and go to the prom as a gay couple. Meanwhile, Cleveland's authority as his favorite snack food's ultimate expert is threatened by another fan.