Unbelievable as it may seem, the animated science-fiction comedy show with the cult following is returning to television with new adventures in 2008. Though FOX cancelled Futurama in 2003 after five seasons and 72 episodes, Comedy Central has now ordered at least 13 new episodes of the offbeat Matt Groening series. (As you know, Groening also created the longrunning The Simpsons series)
The final season’s ratings on FOX were less than stellar but the series has found new popularity on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late-night schedule. As well, the DVD season box sets have been selling like hotcakes.
Apparently Comedy Central knows a good thing when they see it. Last fall, the cable channel bought the rights to air the existing series episodes (outbidding Cartoon Network) as well as any new episodes that might be produced.
Now, sources have reported that original voice talent (including the amazing Billy West as Philip J. Fry) and production staffers have signed on for the series return. Actress Katey Segal (Turanga Leela) confirmed the announcement on a recent appearance on the CBS’ The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson .
Comedy Central Senior Programming VP David Bernath said “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. 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.”
The new episodes aren’t expected to begin airing until 2008 because of the long production time it takes to produce them. Only 13 episodes were ordered initially but, based on expected high ratings and DVD sales, I think it’s a pretty safe bet we’ll see Phil Fry and Futurama around for a long time to come.