The Real Story Behind Futurama Getting Canceled


Futurama is a cult hit now, but the first
time around, the second show from the creator of The Simpsons was never given a real shot
to shine. Matt Groening became a true force in television
animation after creating The Simpsons, which has aired an astonishing 600-plus episodes
on Fox since premiering 30 years ago in 1989. In the late 90’s, with The Simpsons having
become a cultural phenomenon, Fox began to express interest in a new show from Groening. He came back to Fox with the show that would
eventually become Futurama. “Shut up and take my money!” It should have been a surefire hit. Instead, though, Groening says that Fox seemingly
never really wanted Futurama to succeed, and even sabotaged their own show rather than
let Groening have another hit. During an interview with Mother Jones, Groening
had some not-so-great things to say about working with Fox execs in Hollywood. “You can’t believe what babies people are. It’s really like being in junior high school.” Groening even said that Fox executives weren’t
fans of The Simpsons either, revealing, “You can’t expect people to behave in their
own best interest. It’s in Fox’s best interest for this show
to be a success, but they’d rather mess with the show and have them fail, than allow creators
independence and let them succeed…They don’t like The Simpsons at Fox.” So how did this affect Futurama? The network moved the show around from time
slot to time slot, then let it die a quiet death in 2003 before it was eventually revived
by Comedy Central a few years later. But the network seemed to be working against
the show even before it debuted. When Futurama was originally coming down the
pike, Groening wanted Futurama to air at 8:30 PM on Sundays, directly after The Simpsons
and ahead of The X-Files in order to give the show the best chance to find a large audience. This seemed like a no-brainer, but Fox disagreed,
for whatever reason, choosing instead to show only two episodes of Futurama in the Sunday
night lineup before moving the series to a much less desirable Tuesday night time slot. By the time the second season of Futurama
came around, Fox moved the show back to the 8:30 PM Sunday spot in which the first two
episodes aired. Then, in a move that alienated audiences further,
Fox shifted the show again in the middle of the season, this time bumping it up to 7:00
PM on Sunday. And irregularly timed sporting events, which
were a huge money-maker for Fox, made it even harder to anticipate when Futurama would air
each week. This up-and-down scheduling had another disappointing
consequence: Fox held onto episodes of Futurama made for the third and fourth seasons and
reserved them for a fifth season…that didn’t even end up airing on the network. Fox never formally canceled Futurama, not
in the way that television series are usually axed nowadays. The network simply stopped purchasing new
episodes of Futurama, and the series went out of production ahead of the fall 2003 broadcast
season. “At least I still have my self respect!” A couple years later, though, Comedy Central
picked up Futurama. The series lasted another three seasons on
the network before it ended in 2013, proving Groening right and Fox wrong. In a 2003 interview with The Calgary Sun,
Groening offered his candid thoughts on the situation: “The people at Fox didn’t ever support the
show and it wasn’t to their taste and, in my opinion, they’re out of their minds. But they don’t like The Simpsons either. The idea of a TV show that they haven’t gotten
their greasy fingers all over creatively drives them nuts. That’s why almost everything else is so lousy…We
won the Emmy for best animated show and I didn’t even get a begrudging phone call from
anyone at Fox. That’s a dark company that they can’t even
make a fake phone call.” Ouch. Tell them how you really feel, Matt! “Bite my colossal metal ass!” Ultimately, though, Groening got the last
laugh. Futurama became a cult classic hit on a different
network, The Simpsons continues to run to this day, and his show at Netflix, Disenchantment,
scored a second and third season in late 2018. You know what they say: living well is the
best revenge. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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100 thoughts on “The Real Story Behind Futurama Getting Canceled

  1. Futurama is the best cartoon ever made. The writing started to get a little worse in later seasons but it never bothered me because just going on adventures with the Planet Express crew and seeing new things was always enough. We did get a solid ending for the show to be potentially concluded but it could be revived again without any issues.

    I'm glad he made Disenchantment. It starts off slow but it had me hooked once the second half of S1 was released. I went from finding it mediocre to being very excited for S2.

  2. I’ve seen it 20 times and I will watch it many more. If anything, it has a cult following now. 100% deserves too return.

  3. Fox did that nonsense with a lot of shows. Remember Firefly? If it was just getting started and building an audience, they went out of their way to kill it.

  4. About what I'd expect from a network that allowed a successful show they supposedly hate to be ripped off…three times….by the likes of Seth MacFarlane.

  5. So you mean mixing screening schedule is a sign the show might get cenceled ? Oh no, bob's burger seems have the same sign, they mix episode schedule this season.. i love bob's burger thoo

  6. Think we need to clarify that Adult Swim saved this show. The reruns aired on there, got super popular like Family Guy and then Comedy Central swopped in and ordered new episodes. And then Adult Swim couldn't even air the older (funnier) ones.

  7. If it wasn't for the animated shows on Fox. I would be soo F*ing happy to see that company fail. Every exec on they have had looks to be a complete moron. They gave the merchandising rights to Star Wars to Lucas… how are they in this business

  8. FOX is a dying tv channel, form supportin trump and everything bad in the us, losing 20th cenutry to disney, and the way they grudge away awesome shows like futurama or simpsons bc they had no creative input in them

  9. Now that Fox is gone a I have a smidge of faith that Futurama will be coming back some time. Better be before the year 3000.

  10. FOX are a bunch of dickholes. They just love to cancel shows for fun. But Comedy Central is also worst because they cancel 'Futurama' for no good reason.

    I'm telling you 'Futurama' is one of the most badly treated shows ever. But on a much brighter side, it's better for the show to end on a decent note instead of dragging on forever like its sister show The Simpsons'.

  11. If this is the real story about why it got cancelled, I wonder what the fake story about it being cancelled is….? 🤔

  12. I always loved Futurama and was devastated as a kid when it was cancelled. The being elated when it came back! Fox must have drank some HOT tea and burned their mouth because they have no TASTE! Lol

  13. I’m still convinced Fox thinks The Simpsons is a good show despite audiences saying , “No! The Simpsons hasn’t been good in over 20 years. If anything it should have been cancelled instead “

  14. These shows were great, but after a while they lost their luster… The writing for these shows simply became lazier n plain boring. None of the characters were going anywhere n it became an infinite loop!

  15. Can't Netflix acquire the rights for the show and keep it running? I mean, I've never heard of someone hating or even hard disliking Futurama, it has an incredible hype like any other science fiction cartoon. At the time that Fox aired it, it was substantially harder distributing shows at cable TV's. Nowdays, we got lots and lots of digital content beeing distributied throughout Netflix, Amazon Prime, even YouTube premium… I think that isn't the last time we're hearing about Futurama coming back

  16. I would love some more Futurama movies, Come on Disney you need more content on Disney+. Disenchantment is good too!

  17. Well yeah the writers of Simpsons made fun of fox like constantly for being liars and hacks. for the ppl who help coined 'just telling how it is,' they get all hypocritical and defensive when other ppl 'just telling how it is' with them.

  18. I have the complete collection on dvd, and occasionally binge watch. My favorite joke is the Scary Door parody of War of the Worlds.

  19. No matter why they were cancelled, if any network or Subscriber Based Carrier would pick them up I would be more than happy to pay for the opportunity to see new episodes. I've already bought the entire series, "Now shut up and take my money!" 😉

  20. Man I wish this show had more episodes.. loved this show.. Fox sucks when it comes to good shows they kill the good ones v.v

  21. Fox screws over Futurama then King the hill to put Cleveland show on then that got canceled they sure on Seth McFarlane for three shows

  22. I do wonder though if Futurama kept going would the quality of it have gone downhill as well as with many other similar shows, I think part of the reason why it's such a gem in my opinion is because back when it was on, they only released a few episodes a year and therefore had a lot of time to really make all the episodes splendid. I remember watching this back to back with family guy, and we all know the direction that show went.

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