Variety has an good article today on the revival of the animated comedy Futurama after its cancellation by Fox. It’s beginning a run of 26 newly produced episodes on Comedy Central next week.

The lessons learned from the history of Family Guy:

The path to a return was laid out by Fox’s “Family Guy,” which the network took off the air after the program’s third season in 2002. As with many other shows, protests rose up from the core fans. But in this case, strong DVD sales and — perhaps even more important — noteworthy ratings in syndication compelled Fox execs to take a second look.

And the similar path trod by Futurama’s revival.

Like “Family Guy,” “Futurama” first aired in syndication on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and when that deal was expiring, 20th negotiated a new one with Comedy Central that included a quartet of new DVDs, each with four firstrun episodes — “a halfway step” to reviving the series, Bernath says.


While the DVDs showed that new episodes were a viable option from a production standpoint, Cohen believes that the success of the reruns made a huge difference.

via Variety

Sane fans seeking to save their shows might learn some lessons from what worked to revive these two shows:

  • Rerun ratings in syndication
  • DVD sales
  • (added later) Animated shows can be revived years later for a variety of reasons that do not apply to live action shows.

Conspicuously absent from the “this is what did it” recount were emailing, online petitions, the mailing of flotsam to the network, and other manner of money and time wasting.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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