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Author Topic: Why did the show last at all?  (Read 348 times)
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Ttomalss
Delivery Boy
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« on: 09-28-2004 08:35 »

Regarding Futurama's fate, most of us here would agree that the cancellation was the result of general disaffection/outright hatred of the show on the part of the executives at the Fox network.  One thing I don't understand, however, is why these executives decided to let the show linger and perish slowly for about four years, when they could have canned it anytime they wanted.  Certainly it wouldn't have been that hard; look at the way shows done by "big wheels" at the various networks have met their ends very quickly (Chris Carter's "Harsh Realm" comes to mind).

Thoughts?
Zmithy

Professor
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« Reply #1 on: 09-28-2004 08:54 »

First off, I don't think Futurama "lingered and perished" for four years.
The Fox Exec's always wanted to kill Futurama, ever since Matt Groening pitched the show (hence the crappy time slots and such), but the show decided to prove them wrong and make lots of money.
If Futurama had started this year, Fox would have axed it by now, when you consider how anti-sci-fi TV networks are at the moment (The cancellation of Firefly, and more recently Century City and Wonderfalls come to mind).
I think the main reason that futurama lasted as long as it did (and WILL return  smile ) is the similarities between it and the simpsons, the popularity of that show gave futurama a chance. None of the show's producers wanted it to be linked (or seen as a spin-off of) the simpsons, but it always gets compared with the simpsons. The last time I saw Futurama on channel 4, Vernon Kay introduced the show with the line "remember the simpsons?". The media always makes comparisons, and Futurama comics are selling well in the UK due to the way they are marketed towards the simpson's comic readers.
Nerd-o-rama

Urban Legend
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« Reply #2 on: 09-28-2004 11:24 »

FOX did, in fact, put the show on hiatus in early 2002; it technically lasted just short of three years.  However, thanks to the numerous delayed episodes that had been bumped from the original airdates by football and such and an overproductive staff that had the larger part of a season already produced and unaired, they managed to stretch the actual airing out another year and a half.

And FOX let the show go for those three years because their accountants had to "prove" that the show was unviable in order to go over the producers' heads and have it cancelled.  I'd guess it takes a lot of doctored charts to oversome Matt Groening's reputation and DXC's negotiating skills.
PCC Fred

Space Pope
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« Reply #3 on: 09-28-2004 11:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Nerd-o-rama:
FOX did, in fact, put the show on hiatus in early 2002; it technically lasted just short of three years.

If you want to get technical, FOX actually commissioned Futurama back in 1998, so it was in production for four years.  And I think they let it go on as long as it did to make it more attractive as a syndication/DVD package.
Nasty Pasty

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #4 on: 09-28-2004 17:38 »

I think that one of the reasons FOX left it on so long was just to please Matt Groening. I guess they owed him one after The Simpsons is such a success.
Squeaky

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #5 on: 09-28-2004 18:06 »

Correct me if I'm wrong; but weren't the ratings pretty strong for the show when it first came out. I do remember in season 1 that FOX actually advertising the show. Of course they stopped that after the start of the second season.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #6 on: 09-28-2004 18:31 »

Well, as far as my knowledge goes (which obviously isn't very far) it was the highest-rated pilot episode of any series up to that point (and maybe since) in Fox history. That probably had a lot to do with the fact that 1.) Groening, of "Simpsons" fame, was linked to the show and 2.) this association made for a lot of publicity in the media.

Anyway, I think that Nerd-o-rama is on the right track--the show probably just lasted as long as it did because the Fox executives needed to prove that it was an unappealing, unviable show. Also, as Matt Groening recently stated in his EW interview, what lead to Fox's disdain for the show was the fact that the writers didn't listen to the censors, ignored their notes, what have you. Still, I have a feeling that its deeper than that, and I don't know if we'll ever really be able to pinpoint the precise reason that Fox did what Fox did (unless it gets out more clearly and in more detail, from Groening or Cohen).
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #7 on: 09-29-2004 03:22 »

To some extent I think there may have even been an ongoing internal fight within Fox.  I remember someone (Groening or Cohen I think) commenting that there's the side of Fox that wants to be in complete control and all that, and the side that wants to actually make money.  So I think on some level there was a fight within Fox itself....some wanting to actually support the show because they like to make profits, others wanting to shove it to the side or even cancel it outright.  They found the compromise of sorts by keeping it on (for a while), but not supporting it at all. 

I also wonder if the time-slot was ironically the magic thing here....only so many Koth/Simpsons reruns can fit that slot.  They needed something and they already at least had an established show with some fanbase to garner some ratings out of in that slot, so they kept showing it until it finally expired episode-wise.  Far as I know that slot is actually doing worse for them now.  Only 60 Minutes viewers ever watch television then.
j_ohanley

Bending Unit
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« Reply #8 on: 09-29-2004 17:38 »

I'm not surprised at the show lasting for it's first three seasons. The second season was green-lit when the show was a big hit. The third was given the nod when the show, although in it's death slot, was doing very well. But the fourth season? I'm incredibly surprised (and grateful) that FOX let it happen.
evan

Urban Legend
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« Reply #9 on: 09-30-2004 02:55 »

Despite what FOX would like you to believe, there is a niche for intelligent comedy out there.  Surprise surprise, many viewers were able to find Futurama and keep track of it.  That led to a strong enough base to keep the show alive, even if FOX tried its damndest to kill the show.

I may be incorrect, but whenever Matt Greoning was interviewed for the Simpsons, Futurama was mentioned sometimes.  That is word-of-mouth publicity of the highest order.

Or perhaps football fans just forgot to change the channel when Futurama came on.  There was "accidental Neilson ratings."  Hey, ratings are ratings.
Rhodan

Bending Unit
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« Reply #10 on: 09-30-2004 12:44 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by DotheBartman:
To some extent I think there may have even been an ongoing internal fight within Fox.  I remember someone (Groening or Cohen I think) commenting that there's the side of Fox that wants to be in complete control and all that, and the side that wants to actually make money.  So I think on some level there was a fight within Fox itself....some wanting to actually support the show because they like to make profits, others wanting to shove it to the side or even cancel it outright.  They found the compromise of sorts by keeping it on (for a while), but not supporting it at all. 

I also wonder if the time-slot was ironically the magic thing here....only so many Koth/Simpsons reruns can fit that slot.  They needed something and they already at least had an established show with some fanbase to garner some ratings out of in that slot, so they kept showing it until it finally expired episode-wise.  Far as I know that slot is actually doing worse for them now.  Only 60 Minutes viewers ever watch television then.
I actually recently thought too if they didnīt start truly hate show with 3ACV block which they didnīt like for being different. Maybe 4ACV was just excuse to put show into slow and effective death with "seasons" 4 and 5. Maybe stupid but still some imagine I get.

ShortRoundMcfly

Starship Captain
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« Reply #11 on: 10-01-2004 21:44 »

Does anyone else find it odd that most lines of dolls can get an animated movie but the biggest name in Cartooning(Matt Groening) and the most over qualified staff on telelvision can't get a series of the ground? Espically on a network that will take any crap?
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