June 22, 2006 — ‘FUTURAMA” is officially back from the dead.
The quirky animated show from “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening was canceled by Fox about two years ago, but will return with at least 13 new episodes on Comedy Central by 2008.
This is only the second time in television history that a show sent to TV’s trash heap has been resurrected. Curiously, the first was “Family Guy,” also an animated Fox show.
The tale of “Futurama’s” dramatic revival roughly follows that same path that “Family Guy” did.
In both cases, the shows have been successfully airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late-night programming block. They both also turned into hot-selling DVD box sets.
“Family Guy” returned to Fox earlier this year, while last fall, Comedy Central outbid Adult Swim for the license to air all 52 episodes of “Futurama” and whatever new episodes might one day be produced.
This week, deals were inked to secure all of the original voice talent and the production staff of “Futurama,” paving the way for the series’ return to TV.
The show stars voice-over megastar Billy West (whose elastic vocal chords have provided the voices for nearly 120 different cartoons) as Philip J. Fry, a bumbling slacker from the 20th century who is accidentally cryogenically frozen in 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later.
It is believed that the new episodes will also be released on DVD.
“Futurama” star Katey Sagal confirmed the return of the show on Comedy Central Tuesday night during an appearance on Craig Ferguson’s “Late Late Show.”
On Fox, “Futurama” never developed the same buzz or following of its sister show, “The Simpsons,” but has since become one of the biggest shows on Adult Swim.
Fox may also have the option to air the new episodes, although it is highly unlikely to do so, according to industry sources.
So now begins the long wait. Jeez, producers these days like to release information then make us wait interminably; just as they did when they announced the return of Doctor Who then made us wait a year before it actually aired. I suppose this has the effect of creating a cult community around the return, people who are desperate for any scraps of information leading up to the broadcast.
Anyone got any scraps?