‘Futurama’ Revived On Hulu; John DiMaggio Not Returning As Bender – Deadline

Fry, Leela and Bender are set for more 31st century adventures. After months of negotiations, Hulu has finalized deals for 20 new episodes of Matt Groening and David X. Cohen’s cult animated sci-fi comedy Futurama to premiere in 2023 on the streamer. In addition to Groening and Cohen, set to come back is the majority of the series’ voice cast, including Billy West, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr and David Herman.

Missing from the list is one of the three lead voice actors, John DiMaggio, who voices foul-mouthed robot Bender among half a dozen characters. The role is currently being recast ahead of the first table read on Monday. The decision was made after negotiations with Futurama studio 20th Television Animation came to a standstill though there is a desire on both sides to have DiMaggio rejoin the cast and reprise his role.

I hear DiMaggio, who has traveled the world promoting the character and the series over the years, was approached along with the rest of the cast. According to sources the offer to DiMaggio was in line with that for fellow leads West (Fry) and Sagal (Leela) who, after a back-and-forth, agreed to a deal while DiMaggio felt the proposal was not competitive based on the success and name recognition of of the original series.

Futurama is the third beloved Fox animated series to find a new life, following Family Guy, which was revived by the network after strong DVD sales, and American Dad!, which has become a staple on TBS.

First airing on Fox from 1999-2003 before the network famously pulled the plug midway through production on Season 4, Futurama was brought back in 2007 with four direct-to-DVD movies that subsequently aired as 30-minute episodes on Comedy Central. Based on their success, similarly to Family Guy‘s resurrection, Comedy Central ordered new seasons of the series which made a return to television in June 2010. (Both Family Guy and Futurama also were helped by renewed interest in the shows through their run on Adult Swim.)

“I’m thrilled to have another chance to think about the future… or really anything other than the present,” said Cohen.

Added Groening, “It’s a true honor to announce the triumphant return of Futurama one more time before we get canceled abruptly again.”

Futurama‘s existing seasons are available to stream on Hulu, which has been building up its original and acquired adult animation content roster.

“When presented with the opportunity to bring fans and viewers new episodes of Futurama, we couldn’t wait to dive in. This iconic series helped blaze the trail for the success of adult animation since its initial launch and we look forward to Matt & David continuing to pave the way and further establishing Hulu as the premiere destination for fans of the genre,” said Craig Erwich, President, Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment.

Over the course of its run, Futurama earned six Emmy Awards–including two Outstanding Animated Program, seven Annie Awards, two Environmental Media Awards and two Writer’s Guild of America Awards. Over its seven seasons spanning two decades, 140 original episodes were produced, with the then-final episode airing on September 4, 2013.

“What I love about animation is that it’s possible for a successful show to take a pause and then resume years later, even on a different platform, and pick up right where it left off. Futurama is one of those shows. The excitement from Hulu about returning Matt and David’s genius creation for all-new episodes has been off the charts. I’m thrilled that this incredible team will get to tell more stories, and that our Planet Express crew will have more adventures together. It’s a win for the fans who have loved the show since the beginning, and for the ones who will now discover it for the very first time,” commented Marci Proietto, Head of 20th Television Animation.

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, a robot who possesses human characteristics and flaws.

Futurama, created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen, is produced 20th Television Animation a part of Disney Television Studios, with Rough Draft Studios, Inc. contributing the animation.

Source: Deadline

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