What started as a rumor on the site collider.com - citing an anonymous inside source - has now been corroborated by major TV media outlets such as Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, and Variety (update: and a Comedy Central press release). Futurama is set for a return on Comedy Central with fresh episodes in mid 2010.
Taking a page from the "Family Guy" resurrection guidebook, the canceled Fox animated comedy is returning with an order from Comedy Central for 26 new episodes to run over two seasons. [...]
Comedy Central was happy with the specials and with the 72 produced episodes of "Futurama" it acquired from 20th Century Fox TV in 2006. "Yet there is nothing like new, self-contained episodes week to week," said Comedy Central's senior vp programming David Bernath. "This is all about reinvigorating the franchise, giving it a new burst of energy. [...]
"When we brought back 'Family Guy' several years ago, everyone said that it was a once in a lifetime thing that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived," said 20th TV chairmen Gary Newman and Dana Walden. "But 'Futurama' was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back."
A spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television confirms that the cable net has ordered 26 new episodes of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen's late, great animated series to air beginning in 2010. The studio cites Futurama's "blockbuster" performance on DVD and in reruns on Comedy Central as the reason for its rebirth.
As part of the deal, 20th still has an option to license the new episodes' original runs to a broadcast network (such as Fox). If the show does go to broadcast, Comedy Central's license fee will be reduced.
"It's a deal we're all happy with," said Comedy Central programming senior VP David Bernath. "It's a bigger win for us promotionally if we wind up going first... but if we wind up in second position, then the economics work out for us as well."
So, good news, everyone!
We'll most likely hear more about the new Futurama episodes at Comic Con in July.
Update: Press release by Comedy Central.