The 'Futurama' is Now: Comedy Central Revives Series TVWeek

There’s a future for “Futurama.”

Five years after Fox canceled the animated comedy, 20th Century Fox TV has officially struck a deal with Comedy Central to produce 26 original episodes of the Matt Groening series. It will return as early as mid-2010.

The studio doesn’t have a broadcast network deal yet, but it said it might yet reach an agreement for a network window.

“We’re thrilled Futurama is coming back,” Groening said. “We now have only 25,766 episodes to make before we catch up with Bender and Fry in the year 3000.”

Added executive producer David X. Cohen: “We’re excited and amazed that the show is coming back, perhaps due to some sort of mysterious time loop. We look forward to working with Comedy Central and 20th Television to make this the best iteration of the loop yet!"

The renewal is another coup for 20th co-chairs Gary Newman and Dana Walden, who’ve established a track record for never giving up on animated comedies.

“When we brought back Family Guy several years ago, everyone said that it was   a once in a lifetime thing—that canceled series stay canceled and cannot be revived,” the executives said in a joint statement. “But Futurama was another series that fans simply demanded we bring back, and we couldn’t have been happier when Matt and David agreed that there were many more stories yet to tell.”

David Bernath, senior vice president, programming, for Comedy Central, said the cable network was glad to be part of the revival.

"As evidenced by the strong performance of the extended length epics, there remains a deep and passionate fan base for this intelligent and very funny show that matches perfectly with our audience and it is fantastic that we can add brand-new installments of Leela, Fry and Bender's adventures to our existing library,” he said.

"Futurama's" resurrection is based on the series' strong performance in rerurns on Comedy Central and DVD sales. The network also enjoyed ratings success with four feature-length original "Futurama" specials.

Fox similarly brought back "Family Guy" after a run on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim and strong DVD sales.

--Josef Adalian and Vlada Gelman