“Futurama” Pulls a “Family Guy”
Comedy Central is going back to the Futurama.
Three years after the show last aired on prime time, the cable net has signed a deal to resurrect the former Fox animated series for a minimum 13-episode run.
Comedy Central will start airing the new shows in 2008.
“We are thrilled that Matt Groening and 20th Century Fox Television have decided to produce new episodes of Futurama and that Comedy Central will be the first to air them,” said David Bernath, the cable net’s senior VP.
The new episode order is part of a larger deal Comedy Central made with the production company last year, when they bought the syndicated rights to Futurama’s 72-episode library.
“There is a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience, and it is great that we can offer them not just the existing library but something they’ve never seen as well,” Bernath told the Hollywood Reporter.
The offbeat show was the brainchild of The Simpsons mastermind Groening and writer David X. Cohen and debuted on Fox in March 1999. The series revolved around Fry, a pizza delivery boy who is accidentally frozen for a thousand years. When he wakes up in the year 3000, he befriends a sassy one-eyed pilot, Leela, and a cranky robot, Bender, who both work for an intergalactic delivery service run by a distant nephew of Fry’s.
In August 2003, after five seasons and three Emmys, including the 2002 award for Best Animated Series, Futurama was canceled due to low ratings.
Reruns of the show, however, were picked up by Cartoon Network, and just like cable home did with Family Guy before it, the move paved the way for a Futurama revival.
Both shows aired on the Cartoon Network and quickly built up unexpectedly robust ratings.
In 2004, Stewie & Co. were resuscitated by to Fox thanks to staggering DVD sales–the show ranks as the fourth-biggest TV series seller ever–and its proliferation in reruns.
In January of this year, 20th Century Fox began talks with Comedy Central to revive the long-gone Futurama as well, thanks to its resurgence in popularity courtesy of its second life in reruns and high–though not Family Guy high–DVD sales.
The cable net has already re-signed voice stars Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio to reprise their animated roles.
In the meantime, new Futurama plots can already be had in comic book form, with Groening’s Bongo Comics releasing the stories.