Last week, we reported that FOX’s venerable TV show, King of the Hill, had been cancelled after 13 seasons. The animated series has slipped in the ratings and the network has other animated series like Mitch Hurwitz’s Sit Down, Shut Up and Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show waiting in the wings. In what seems to becoming a growing trend of TV shows jumping networks, the Mike Judge co-created King may find life on another channel.
King debuted in 1997 and tells the story of blue-collar Hank Hill and his family and friends from Texas. The series stars the vocal talents of cancelled TV show veterans like Judge (Beavis and Butt-head), Kathy Najimy (Veronica’s Closet), Pamela Adlon (Lucky Louie), Stephen Root (NewsRadio), Brittany Murphy (Sister, Sister), Toby Huss (Carnivale), David Herman (Futurama), Ashley Gardner (The Drew Carey Show), and Lauren Tom (Men in Trees).
A spokesman for 20th Century Fox TV, the studio that produces King, has confirmed that another network has expressed interest in picking up the show for season 14. The rep declined to name which one it is but all signs point to ABC. The alphabet network had no comment. ABC is set to debut another animated series, The Goode Family, by midseason. Goode and King share executive producers Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.
ABC has had a difficult time finding new comedies in recent years and currently only has the sophomore Samantha Who? sitcom on its schedule. When NBC dumped Scrubs after seven seasons, ABC picked it up for what is assumed to be the sitcom’s final year. It’s expected to debut in early 2009. According to Jim, which has seen a ratings decline over the years, is expected to kick off its eighth and likely last season on December 2nd.
Would a King pickup make sense or be too much of a gamble for ABC? If Goode is a hit, it’s obvious the two would make solid programming companions.
Unfortunately, it would be almost a year before the two series could be paired. Because it typically takes nine months to produce new episodes of King, season 14 couldn’t realistically debut on ABC until Fall 2009. What’s more, because FOX will still probably have season 13 episodes to air, ABC would likely have to delay their own King episodes even longer. Goode could be long gone by then.
If Goode quickly tanks or isn’t renewed, ABC would be stuck with an expensive, mid-to-low rated animated sitcom that had been cast off by another network. As FOX has learned, animated shows fair best when shown in pairs.
King could conceivably move to a cable station but that seems highly doubtful. The show’s voice talent and creative team would likely make the series too expensive for a cable outlet to finance on their own.
Of course, there is a possibility that King could be revived by FOX, the network that cancelled it in the first place. Though execs want to refresh the animation block, they may change their tune if one or both of the two new animated series don’t live up to expectations. Stay tuned!