22 June 2006

Futurama Returns

Three years or so ago, FOX pulled the plug on the animated series Futurama after 72 episodes. This smart, funny show came from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. But -as typical with FOX -it had no idea what to do with, mostly because the humor was satirical in nature, and American's have proven that most satire goes over their heads; witness the nomadic life of Arrested Development or killed after two airings: the brilliant Wonderfalls (among many others).

But like most demographically minded people, the executives at FOX were caught off guard when the show -like Family Guy before it - began to outsell all expectations on DVD. Units of the series -plus reruns on Comedy Central and Cartoon Network - made the show more popular than when it was airing on the network.

But why? The show is still full of satire and sly sci fi jokes. Maybe because Comedy Central's core audience, usually made up of more adult and educated people, seemed to understand and appreciate the adroit humor. Or maybe its just dumb luck. But, since the debut of CN's late-night animated block Adult Swim, the network has seen a huge rise in viewer ship who are generally older than the typical demographics that advertisers usually go after.

With that knowledge behind them, FOX pulled a reverse and revived Family Guy, but still was cautious about bringing back Futurama, which was more expensive to produce than FG.

Now, after rumors that started nearly a year ago, its been confirmed that Comedy Central will bring the show back with 13 new episodes. Expect the voice talent of Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio to return.

This is the third FOX show, by the way, to be revived. Beyond Family Guy and Futurama. IFC has also ordered new episodes of Greg The Bunny (another great, clever comedy that went before its time).

New episodes of Futurama will air on Comedy Central in early 2008.

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