Speculation of Futurama's return until the second run
During much of Spring 2009, and earlier, roamed large speculation about the status of Futurama and whether it would return after Into the Wild Green Yonder. On 9 June 2009, it was officially confirmed that the show would return for its second run, beginning with a 26 episode long production season.
This article describes the rumours and speculation up until that point.
Initial purpose of the films
After 3-4 years of hiatus due to cancellation, the show saw new light when season 5 was ordered. Season 5, unlike prior seasons, saw its light as four films cut into episodes, which would ultimately become production season 5.
There have been a general concern with the film format for Futurama, and most feared that it didn't fit the show, and would prefer Futurama back as a weekly television show.
When the films were announced back during 2006 – 2007, many fans immediately thought of this as an opportunity to prove to Fox that the show still had the gist, and they were willing to put their efforts (i.e. money) into getting these films a larger success than Fox had anticipated, and thus coming around with a renewal of the show with one or more television seasons.
Indeed, some fans would have considered the effort of the films entirely pointless had the show not been renewed.
Rise of speculation
When Bender's Game had been released, David X. Cohen appeared in an interview, expressing hope for the show to be picked up once more. He said, "[h]ope never dies on Futurama, or not anymore," explaining it with "[i]t died once, but once you introduce the idea that you can come back from the dead, then the second time you have to have a little bit of hope that you might come back to life yet again."
But Cohen's hopes were not without reasoning, "[t]he hard facts would seem to support us coming back again. From what we have heard, the DVDs have sold very well, and I have heard the phrase 'greatly exceeded' 20th Century Fox's expectations", but warns fans not to get too excited just yet, because "[w]e haven't heard anything, yes or no, so it's familiar territory."
Fox talk considerations
Nearing the release of Into the Wild Green Yonder, HippoJuice did an interview with Billy West at South Florida Anime Supercon. Among other things, Billy mentioned about a possible sixth season being in discussion internally at Fox.
Billy West's comments was quickly picked up by fans, whom assumed that Billy West may had access to some information about the show that they did not. As such, rumours and speculation stirred up after the interview. Matt Groening and David X. Cohen also tried to stir it up discussing that the "[9th] Odd [Thing] We Now Know About Futurama" was the show returning, and continued to speak of the sixth season in other interviews as well. David X. Cohen went out himself and told IGN "[t]he good news is it really might happen. And the bad news is it really might happen", whom then went even further with a statistic chance of it returning as 50/50.
Despite all the good talk in the media, Futurama fans were still not entirely convinced, and wanted a more solid prove of its returning, and not just its crew wishing it would return.
In March, however, the British tabloid, ZOO, published a full page interview with Matt Groening, where he supposedly stated that Futurama would be back in some form. Due to the nature of the tabloid, however, the news was not entirely convincing, and since no other media outlet supported ZOO's article, it was assumed to be a misunderstanding.
For about a moment, the rumours and interviews laid quiet, until Matt Groening appeared in an interview for the A.V. Club, in which he seemed to be sort of suggesting that he was getting his arms down in excitement, since in the television industry it is so easy to just say no. However, he was still convinced that it would be financially smart to renew Futurama.
On the radio show, Coast to Coast AM, Billy West once again mentioned that the negotiations are still ongoing, but also encouraged fans to write in letters and e-mails to Fox, which might help them consider.
Contradiction regarding talks
In February 2009, Matt Groening mentioned in an interview that they are "talking with Fox about doing more episodes and" he hoped they could. He emphasised his point with "[j]ust looking at the numbers, it seems to make sense. They're making money." His statements seemed to indicate that at the time, there was negotiations going on between the show runners and Fox, but he could not provide any clue on where the negotiations were going.
Later in early March, David X. Cohen stated "[b]asically, all I genuinely know is that Fox is talking about it, they're thinking about it", confirming Groening and West's statement about a negotiation. However, Cohen went on to say that "they're not talking about it with us, they're thinking about it among themselves. We know it's under consideration, apparently it's taking a while."
These contradictions regarding where the negotiations were taking place and more importantly the significance of them (Cohen seemed to suggest it was just 'talks', whereas Groening highlights them as actual negotiations), left fans puzzled and began speculating whether each Futurama crew member had their own interpretation of the actual considerations at Fox, or whether some of them are deliberately spicing up the truth. Because while Groening and Cohen seemed reluctant to give further information (possibly because they lacked concrete evidence), Billy West was more than happy to share information about possible talks and negotiations.
Waiting for the 2009-10 U.S. television season upfronts
Fox was supposed to announce its upfronts for its 2009-10 U.S. television slate on 28 May 2009. When the British Digital Spy created a list of television shows of interest to British and American viewers, including already renewed shows and axed shows, but also shows still up for grabs, which included Futurama in its original release, hope returned to the fans. The initial mention of Futurama was unconfirmed, however, and it later disappeared entirely, perhaps because of Fox's press release for the coming season, where no mention of Futurama had been made.
Fans then considered what Comedy Central might do, since they were the only one in the U.S. airing the show. But fans were let down again, when Comedy Central announced its plans for the 2009-10 U.S. television season, which included no announcement for the renewal of Futurama.
Collider's rumour and official word
On 7 June 2009, Collider reported about a reliable source within Comedy Central, that it is going to renew Futurama for a 13 episode season, though at the time of writing, it made clear it was still technically a "rumour", but remained certain that its sources were correct.
Collider's rumour was, however, quickly turned into actual news, and could take its "rumour" label off its story. Because two days later on 9 June, Comedy Central officially announced the renewal of Futurama with a 26 new episode season.
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- ^ YouTube video of HippoJuice interview. (YouTube.)
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