Hitfix reports that some unidentified "Comedy Central sources" have confirmed that the brand spanking new episodes of 'Futurama' will hit the cable network's airwaves on Thursday, June 24.
TV actor and comedian George Lopez has been tapped to provide the voice for the beloved Speedy Gonzales in a new big screen movie adaptation of the beloved Warner Brothers 'Looney Tunes' franchise.
Now I understand that big names bring big bucks to the box office, but this really the first time in my mind that a famous Looney Tunes character is being re-voiced by a star instead of a trained voice actor who can mimic the immortal voice of the late Mel Blanc. Voice actor Billy West, an outspoken critic of celebrity voice over characters, once described it in an earlier interview I did with him for Arriviste Press magazine as "most artless, bloodless, Godless idea I've ever heard."
But I have to come up with something to do after all the food has been ravenously devoured by that wolf pack I call my family. And rather than list 100 reasons for regretting life (because 99 of them would be "Why did I eat that?"), here some things I have to be thankful for instead.
Her reaction? Slightly perturbed, but not surprised, given her industry experience. "Well, it's what always happens. We're starting our sixth season, and the actors felt that it was deserving of a sixth-season salary. And we weren't being offered that. We were united in our search for... we wanted what's fair, that's all."
When 20th put out a casting notice looking for replacement voices, Sagal said, "I wasn't surprised. It's business."
Variety reports that production on the new Comedy Central episodes has been restarted now that the principal voice talent has been coaxed back to the studio. This means that the show will be able to meet its 2010 target date.
That is, of course, unless there are unforeseen complications like, say, another writers' strike, an animator ink shortage, or an impromptu invasion led by the planet Omicron Persei 8. Negotiations with Lur are still pending.
Di Maggio is currently working on Penguins of Madagascar, but neither is working on anything as high profile as Futurama. I can't imagine they have any intention of truly walking away from a revival getting this much press. They were just trying to play hardball, and realized that 20th Century wasn't going to play.
I think it would have been fun if they'd recast the characters. They would have probably even addressed it right in the episodes, having them talk about how they all sound different and coming up with some ridiculous reason for it.
[UPDATE: - Since the composition of this post, all principal cast members have been signed.]
As the article notes, this is either a salary negotiation tactic or the dumbest marketing move since new Coke. This is like replacing Seth MacFarlane on Family Guy (which I wouldn't put past the Fox executives in looking to save a buck or two). Everybody, and I mean everybody, would notice if the characters suddenly spoke with a different voice, no matter how much the voice tried to be like the original.
This is a bad idea. Even if they did some sort of lame plot device like having Professor Farnsworth invent a machine that would change everybody's voice, this is a bad idea.
They tried this same tactic years ago with the voices on The Simpsons and that didn't work either. Here's hoping that Fox has similar luck.
Futurama has gone through more frustrating cancellations than a United Airlines flight leaving Chicago's O'Hare Airport. No one knows that better than voice actor Billy West and actress Katey Sagal who respectively provide the voice, heart and soul of the show's two main characters, Fry and Leela.
But what has kept the show going is the camaraderie of the cast and crew. Everyone from the show still keep in touch in between other jobs and even have the occasional reunion from their regular crowded visits at ComicCon to smaller get togethers like when Katey said the cast got together to watch her last concert at the MBar in Hollywood.
Most of all, they said they have the fans to thank for their next big reunion when Futurama goes back into production. They both took a short time out of their busy schedules to chat about Comedy Central's two season order.
Futurama's executive producer David X. Cohen talked to Wired Magazine's Underwire blog about just what lies ahead for the new Comedy Central episodes.
The good news is Cohen seems to be brimming with more crazy ideas than a Hardee's product development retreat, but he doesn't reveal anything too specific in terms of what Fry, Leela and Bender will be doing in the episodes to come.
What was once just internet gossip that spread across the web like a persistent skin rash has now become confirmed fact.
20th Century Fox and Comedy Central are not only reviving Futurama, but they want double the initial number of episodes that Collider.com reported meaning fans can look forward to 26 new episodes the sci-fi comedy series around the middle of 2010.
Variety also reports that actors Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio have also signed up to once again provide the voices for Fry, Leela and Bender. I believe that sound you just heard was the universe being ripped open by this awesome time loop.
Day three of Comic-Con 2008 began with waiting in a line that streched the length of the convention center for the Futurama panel, which was followed by The Simpsons panel. Futurama featured the primary voice cast of Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio as well as creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen.
Due to time limitations the panel when right into audience questions. One that was asked pertained to Matt and David's plans for the show. Both meant said that they had the entire story of Futurama planned even before the show began. They didn't know where the show would go, and they still have plenty of secrets to reveal in upcoming DVD releases.
Saturday -- a time of rest and relaxation. A time to put your feet up, grab a lemonade, open a book, and let the cool, summer breezes gently rock your hammock as a lazy July day passes. Of course, that's if you aren't attending the San Diego Comic-Con. Then, it's out of your bed, quick shower (if any), breakfast-on-the-go, and right back into the queues to see your particular favorites talking about their television shows.
Like Friday, Saturday at Comic-Con will be packed with television goodness. This is the day that many of the big guns come to play. Shows like The Office, Lost, Battlestar Galactica will be making appearances. They will be joined by newcomers Chuck, Dollhouse, and Pushing Daisies. There will even be an appearance by the recently single Sarah Silverman. There's also a good bit of television animation being featured, particularly by Nicktoons and B.E.T. Animation.
In order to make sure you get the most out of the money you paid to get into the convention, we here at TV Squad are providing you with a complete list of television-related panels for that day. If you are interested in seeing what else is going on July 25th you can review the official full schedule at the Comic-Con website. Remember, times and appearances are subject to change and seating in all event rooms is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
I am not one for the traditional holiday fare constantly repeated on television at this time of year (although, I am a sucker for It's A Wonderful Life, and regularly tear up at the very end. Damn you, Frank Capra!) That's why I am very grateful for sites like YouTube, which provide me with an alternative to my holiday viewing. Because of that monster video web site I am able to watch, over and over and over again, perhaps one of my most favorite holiday videos: Twas the Night Before Christmas recited by numerous voice actors.
Yes, I may enjoy this because I am a voiceover wonk, but I just think it's the coolest thing. Not only do you get to hear the story told by great voice actors like Jim Cummings, Gary Owens, Billy West, and Don LaFontaine, but you also get to match the voices you have heard on your television during a normal day with actual faces. In addition, you get to see some television actors -- Nate Corddry and Dennis Haysbert, to name just two -- doing their thing behind the microphone.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. You can view the video after the clip.
If you've watched any cartoon on TV in the last fifteen years, chances are you've heard Billy West's voice. West is one of the premier voice actors working today, and during those fifteen years, he's used his versatile voice to create new characters -- and resuurect old ones -- all over the television and movie landscape. From Shaggy to Bugs Bunny to Woody Woodpecker to the Cherios Honey Bee to the Red M&M, the 54-year old West has put his imprint on all of them. But most people know him from two classic cartoon series: On Ren & Stmpy, he did the voices of both main characters (he picked up Ren after creator John Kricfalusi was fired after the first season), and on Futurama he did the voices of Philip Fry, Professor Farnsworth, Dr. John Zoidberg, and Zapp Brannigan, among others.
In this wide-ranging interview, conducted by phone on May 31, Billy and I talked about his history with John K., the way he went about creating some of his Futurama characters, his early-'90s role on "The Howard Stern Show", and the influx of celebrity voices in current cartoon movies (let's just say he's against it). We also went over all the Futurama Season One episodes in the 90-minute (!) interview, which you will see in my Retro Squad coverage of the show. He was even nice enough to do a Futurama / R&S -themed intro for our APB podcast, which we used to open podcast #13 last week. Needless to say, Billy West is a mensch.
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