Futurama (Concluded) [Comedy Central]

Apr 2, 2009
2,147
http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118006123.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

When "Futurama" returns to TV next year, it might be without the show's original voice cast.

Talks have broken down between 20th Century Fox TV and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille over how much they should be paid to take part in the show.

The studio announced last month that it would produce 26 new episodes of "Futurama," and that Comedy Central was on board to begin airing the new episodes in mid-2010. As part of the announcement, the show's producers said stars including West, Sagal and DiMaggio had all signed on to return.

Turns out that wasn't true.

The stars had all expressed interest in returning. But with the budget for "Futurama" dramatically slashed, the salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking.

As a result, 20th has put out a casting call to find replacement voice actors for the show.

It's not the first time 20th has gone that route during a tough negotiation on one of its toons. The studio previously made a similar move on "The Simpsons" when it couldn't come to a deal with its stars. Casting feelers were sent out for replacements, but a deal was eventually made with the original cast.

The situation is unusual this time around in that 20th and Comedy Central have been kicking around ways to make "Futurama," originally produced for a broadcast network (Fox), make financial sense for a cable run. Yet there's also still a possibility -- and a window built in -- for "Futurama" to run on a broadcast network first.

It's believed that the "Futurama" cast members were asking for around $75,000 per episode; it was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars' reps were not immediately returned.

Created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, "Futurama" originally aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003. The success of the show's repeats on DVD and cable, as well as a series of first-run DVD releases, led to the decision to revive "Futurama."

Other costs slashed in the process led to a smaller writing staff and a shorter delivery schedule.

"We love the 'Futurama' voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands," 20th Century Fox TV said in a statement. "While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to Matt and David's brilliantly subversive characters."

well they may as well not even bother. because i'll never watch it if they don't bring back the original voices
 

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Jan 28, 2009
5,035
Manteca, CA
+1 I can't imagine them doing all the main characters without the original voices. It's liking watching the simpsons in espanol! LOL

 
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splax23

Premium Supporter
Jan 27, 2009
1,171
The D
i wont watch it. fry and bender are the best characters and if they dont have the original voices what is the point of watching? its like taking the simpsons and have someone else as the voice of homer or bart. not worth it
 
Dear Futurama Fan,

Thank you for voicing your strong support for Futurama and the original voice cast. We appreciate the time you took to fire off a thoughtful and/or concerned and/or homicidal e-mail message to our casting director, Scott Muller. (Rest assured, not a single one of these e-mails reached the actual decision-makers at 20th Century Fox Television. For future reference, please note that Scott Muller is in fact one of Futurama's biggest fans, and was instrumental in bringing about the return of the cast. Please hoist a bottle of Olde Fortran for Scott!)

Speaking of the cast returning... good news, everyone! The cast is returning! All of our series regulars are back in action for Season 6. Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman are all on board and have already begun delivering their customary virtuoso performances. The all-new Futurama episodes are slated to air on Comedy Central beginning in June, 2010.

We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support for the series. Your loyalty over the years has kept the show going through its original four seasons on FOX, its subsequent reincarnations on Adult Swim and DVD, and now its Bendiferous return to life on Comedy Central. See you in the (near) future!

Sincerely,

David X. Cohen & Matt Groening

Done deal! :) this is such good news!