Things are looking up for Fry, Leela and Bender! Comedy Central and Twentieth Century Fox Television have announced the pick-up of 26 new episodes of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s brilliantly subversive animated sci-fi comedy, ‘Futurama.’ The first installment of 13 new episodes will premiere in the summer of 2012, with the additional 13 new episodes to air the following summer of 2013 on Comedy Central.
The announcement was made yesterday by Twentieth Century Fox Television’s Chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden, and David Bernath, Executive Vice President, program strategy and multiplatform programming for Comedy Central.
Seven years after its last original episode aired on Fox, the sixth season premiere of ‘Futurama’ last June led Comedy Central to its best Thursday prime ever among young men. The animated sci-fi comedy continued its out-of-this-world winning streak throughout the summer, averaging 2.5 million viewers each week. And in the social media realm, the ‘Futurama’ Facebook fan base has grown from one million “likes” prior to its return last summer to over 11 million “likes” today, making it one of the top television sites on Facebook.
“Successfully bringing the show back last summer was gratifying enough,” said Bernath. “Now, being able to extend the series for two more years is beyond our expectations! The dedicated fans have spoken and we are excited to bring them ‘Futurama’ for the foreseeable future.”
“We’re very grateful to Comedy Central and Twentieth Television for this show of support,” said Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. “Our entire staff will celebrate tonight by going out and getting even drunker.”
“Matt and David created one of the most brilliantly subversive animated comedies ever made in ‘Futurama’ and we consider its continued life on COMEDY CENTRAL to be a huge victory for this studio,” commented TCFTV Chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “This show is a tremendous labor of love for all concerned, from its talented voice cast to the incredible writers and animators who pour so much of themselves into every episode. And its fans are among the most loyal and passionate there are, so we’re especially pleased to be able to promise them many more original episodes to look forward to in the years ahead.”
The show’s entire original voice cast will be returning, including stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio. “It is my great honor to be back with all my friends and colleagues,” said West. “There’s nothing better.”
John DiMaggio commented, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”
‘Futurama’ was a staple of Fox’s Sunday night animation block from 1999 to 2003 before ceasing production on original episodes. In June 2006, Comedy Central acquired the rights to the existing 72 episodes of the series, which the channel began airing in January 2008 and four recently-produced extended-length ‘Futurama’ adventures: “Bender’s Big Score,” “The Beast with a Billion Backs,” “Bender’s Game” and “Into the Wild Green Yonder,” which enjoyed enormous success both on Comedy Central and in DVD release. ‘Futurama’ is only the second series in the history of the medium to go back into production based on the strength of its DVD sales and repeat airings on cable.
‘Futurama’ focuses on the life of Philip Fry (Billy West), a 25-year-old pizza delivery boy who accidentally freezes himself on December 31, 1999 and wakes up 1,000 years later with a fresh start at life and a “diverse” new group of friends including Leela (Katey Sagal), a tough but lovely one-eyed alien and Bender (John DiMaggio), a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws. The series aired for five seasons on Fox (1999 to 2003) earning Emmy nominations each season while winning three times, including “Outstanding Animated Program” in 2002.
‘Futurama,’ created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen, is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television, with Rough Draft Studios, Inc. contributing the animation.