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.
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'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.
The second direct-to-DVD release of Futurama is a fun movie with loads of extras that make the purchase worth it. They include outtakes, deleted scenes, commentary tracks, and an extra I particularly enjoyed: a "Lost Episode" made from a Futurama video game (which was a bit like watching a video game demo, but with jokes). The DVD also comes with a preview of the next Futurama DVD release which looks to be a satire of Lord of the Rings. Guest voices include Brittany Murphy as Fry's new girlfriend, David Cross as the planet-sized Yivo and Professor Stephen Hawking as himself.
Spoilers after the jump...
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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