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This article is about the history of the show. For the in-universe history, see Timeline.

Futurama's production history has not always been easy. From difficult upbringings, network difficulties and cancellation to revivals, cost cuts and salary negotiation collapses.

Yet, Futurama has produced some of the better episodes and gags in the history of animated television.

Futurama is produced by The Curiosity Company and 20th Century Fox. However, despite the regular partners, Futurama has varied in native network and format.

Original run

See also: Original run

When Matt Groening and David X. Cohen originally pitched Futurama to Fox, they were not met with initial support.[1] In fact, the show had scared them somewhat with its setting and unusual characters,[2] so in fact they told them to bring them a more down to Earth episode, which became "I, Roommate",[2] unfortunately their reaction to it was plainly "worst. episode. ever",[3] which made its runners conclude that they'd just do the show they wanted to do, rather than appease 20th Century Fox.[2]

Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, despite not doing any direct writing duties, except for a few episodes, stayed close with the project throughout its run to ensure its quality and its story remain en par with their original vision.

But Futurama did not have it easy on the Fox Network, where they treated it carelessly by moving its airings on and off, to little avail for fans to find them. In addition, they ended up airing them out of order. When ratings suffered as a result, they did not want to order a fifth production season, and said they should consider that season 4 might be their last season they'll do, so better make their series finale something special.[4]

As a result, they picked Ken Keeler to write "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", which would give some closure, but still contain loose strings in case they were brought back.[5] However, no word ever came,[4] and by Spring, 2003, they were officially cancelled.

Direct-to-DVD films

See also: Season 5

After several years of running in syndication on Adult Swim and strong DVD sales, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment re-approached the show runners to do a direct-to-DVD film, and after some negotiation, decided to do four direct-to-DVD films.[6] 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's motivation came from the very strong DVD sale, as well as the good ratings it had had on Adult Swim during its hiatus.

In addition, Comedy Central signed a contract to obtain the airing rights of Futurama on cable television in the United States from 2008. In addition, the direct-to-DVD films were to be cut up into a total of 16 episodes (which would become production season 5) to air on Comedy Central.

Second run

See also: Second run


Main article: Speculation of Futurama's return till the second run

When the films were originally announced, fans themselves thought this was another opportunity to get the show back as a TV season. They argued that strong DVD sales of these films may give motivation to Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox Television to purchase a production season.

And after months of intense speculation, Comedy Central announced the news of an order of 26 episodes, to split up into 2 broadcast seasons.

Casting negotiation ploy

Main article: Recasting ploy

On 17 July, 20th Century Fox Television announced that the main cast of Futurama would go on recasting, opening for new actors to audition.[7] 20th Century Fox Television cited that salary negociations had collapsed with the voice actors, who, according to several reports wanted 75,000 dollars per episode in salary,[8] however this number remains unconfirmed by 20th Century Fox Television or the voice actors' reps.[9] However, others firmly believe that 20th Century Fox Television is doing a negotiation ploy to get the voice actors to cut their salary demands,[9][10] and cited cases where 20th Century Fox Television had done the same thing for The Simpsons in the past,[8] and they still have the same voice actors.[10]

Season 6

Main article: Season 6

Futurama's sixth season started on Comedy Central on 24 June, 2010 with the airing of "Rebirth" and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela". It is divided into two broadcast seasons: the first, which ended in November with "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular", and the second, which is set to begin on 23 June, 2011 with the airing of "Neutopia" and "Benderama".

Season 7

Main article: Season 7

The seventh season was confirmed in the spring of 2011, and, like season 6, was split up into two broadcast seasons. The first aired in the summer of 2012, and the second aired in the summer of 2013.

Third run

The third run was broadcast on Hulu. The first episode of the third run, The Impossible Stream, was first broadcast on July 24, 2023.

Season 8

Main article: Season 8


  1. ^ Groening, Matt. Commentary for "Space Pilot 3000" on Volume One, disc 1.
  2. ^ a b c Groening, Matt. Commentary for "I, Roommate" on Volume One, disc 1.
  3. ^ Cohen, David. Commentary for "I, Roommate" on Volume One, disc 1.
  4. ^ a b Groening, Matt. Commentary for Bender's Big Score on the DVD.
  5. ^ Cohen, David. Commentary for Into the Wild Green Yonder on the DVD.
  6. ^ Cohen, David. Commentary for Bender's Big Score on the DVD.
  7. ^ Phipps, Keith (17 July 2009). "Futurama to get recast?". A.V. Club. Retrieved on 18 July 2009.
  8. ^ a b Schneider, Michael (17 July 2009). "'Futurama' without original voices?". Variety. Retrieved on 18 July 2009.
  9. ^ a b Carreon, Jorge (17 July 2009). "Not going back to 'Futurama?': Cult hit animated TV series finds its cast in a salary dispute". Examiner. Retrieved on 18 July 2009.
  10. ^ a b Fienberg, Daniel (17 July 2009). "Clarification on the 'Futurama' recasting reports". Hitfix. Retrieved on 18 July 2009.