Though King of the Hill has escaped the network grim reaper in the past, it seems like the TV show’s time is up. FOX recently announced that they were cancelling the series after 13 seasons. Shortly thereafter, rumors surfaced that ABC might be considering picking it up. At the recent Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour, fans got their answer.
Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, King of the Hill centers around the Hills, a blue-collar family living in Texas. The animated series debuted on January 12, 1997 and features the voice talents of Mike Judge, Kathy Najimy, Pamela Adlon, Johnny Hardwick, Stephen Root, Brittany Murphy, Toby Huss, David Herman, Ashley Gardner, Lauren Tom, Tom Petty, Breckin Meyer, Jonathan Joss, and Phil Hendrie.
Hill enjoyed very good ratings for a number of years but in 2005 the numbers had slipped and it was due to be cancelled after 10 years. But, before the end of the season, the ratings picked up and the show was renewed.
In late October 2008, FOX execs announced that they were again cancelling the series, after 13 seasons on the air. The network’s other animated shows outperform Hill and execs want to make room for a new cartoon comedy from Mitch Hurwitz. Shortly after the cancellation notice came down, there were rumors that ABC might be interested in picking up Hill as a companion for its own upcoming animated series from Judge, The Goode Family.
As nice as that scenario may sound, Judge isn’t optimistic about Hill’s chances of survival this time around. He recently told iFMagazine, “It’s dead. It’s deader than it was when it was last cancelled [on FOX].” He also wasn’t very optimistic about the possibility of ABC picking it up for season 14.
It turns out that Judge’s instincts weren’t wrong. At the recent TCA press tour, ABC president Steve McPherson talked at length about the network’s plans to include more sitcoms on their upcoming Fall schedule. Unfortunately, those plans don’t include a certain 13-year old animated comedy from FOX. McPherson says that ABC definitely has no plans to save Hill.
Other networks have apparently considered rescuing Hill but it hasn’t gone any further than that. Most believe that the series is over but it could certainly be revived some day in the future.
On the bright side, there are still quite a few episodes that haven’t aired yet. Though FOX ordered them awhile ago, it seems doubtful that they’ll all air on the network.
FOX renewed Hill for a 13the season of a baker’s dozen of episodes back in April 2008. Because of the long lead time needed to produce animated shows, the network’s been airing episodes from season 12.
Season 13 is scheduled to debut on February 8th and run until April 12th, what the network is calling the series finale. If the network sticks to its schedule, that means that only 10 of the 13 episodes will have aired by that time.
If the network doesn’t air all of its Hill episodes, they will certainly turn up in syndication on (Hill recently began airing as part of Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block) and eventually on DVD. With over 240 total episodes having been produced, it’s not likely that the Hills will be leaving the airwaves anytime soon.
Image courtesy FOX.