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Concerning The Cancellation of Futurama 684

Posted by timothy
from the why-can't-the-bastards-just-kill-kenny-instead dept.
Andie Similon of gotfuturama.com writes: "We have recently heard from 4 reliable sources that fox did not pick up the 5th season of futurama. So it's going to get cancelled. We (the fans and webmasters of cgef and other websites) have set up a letter campaign to Fox,' but we need some big sites to spread the word. There are two possibilities of saving futurama A) some other network picking it up B) Fox realizing its mistake (I don't count on it), but the only way we can realise this is that we can get a very big amount of written letters to Fox." Go read the online petition and/or sign it. They've temporarily removed other content on anything else from the site -- there are priorities, after all. Futurama is one of the few shows that make me glad for the invention of television.
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Concerning The Cancellation of Futurama

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  • by Microsift (223381) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:05PM (#2996903)
    I love the Simpsons, but never got into Futurama because there was never enough promotion of the show to make me remember to turn it on. I've seen a couple of episodes of Futurama, but I couldn't tell you what time it's on, or for that matter which day.
  • by night_flyer (453866) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:05PM (#2996904) Homepage
    X-Files - last season
    The Tick - Cancelled
    Futurama - Cancelled
    The Chamber (which they fought so hard to get it out before the chair) - cancelled (thank God)

    just what in the hell are they going to replace these shows with? Its not like a lot of quality material is knocking down the door at FOX

    (that 80's Show?... uggg)
    • I think they should convince David Lynch to make Mulholland Drive back into a series and air that. At least there'd be something worth a damn on TV. As it stands, even the worth a damn stuff isn't much worth a damn.
    • Dark Angel is still worth watching.

      The Simpsons is heading into, what, season 12? It's not that original anymore, but still funny.

      I'm enjoying 24, but I've heard that Fox was very disappointed with the ratings, so while they'll do 24 episodes, I wouldn't count on that being back next year.
    • Well, I watched about ten minutes of the Chamber, once.

      Somehow, the thought of torture becoming a game show disturbed me. That feeling probably hasn't been helped by the intermittent discussions of how to make torture in the interrogation of suspected terrorists palatable to Americans.

      I'll miss the X-Files, though things kinda started to tank once Duchovny started throwing his weight around - getting the show moved from nice digs in Vancouver, then leaving, then not, then leaving, then not, forcing Carter and the writers to dance around this... just a mess. A part of me wishes Mulder had just been McLeaned at the end of the seventh season, instead of letting him play these games and drag the death out so much longer.

      Never watched The Tick. Live-action versions of animated shows just don't resonate with me for some reason. Probably something about the inherent absurdity of cartoons, combined with the ability to depict events and places far cheaper than showing the same things in live-action.

      That 80's Show should make like the decade and be over. I'd like to forget the greed-is-good, disco-hangover 1980's, thanks. If anyone tells you the 1970's lived off pretension, please see "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" and glam rock, then slap the person who tells you that.

      • Tivo accidentally recorded "The Chamber" instead of Futurama once (stupid Fox switched their schedule at the last moment.)

        I was eerily reminded of the gameshows like those in 'The Running Man.'

        The Tick was actually pretty good. A bit different from the comic and animated series, but still quite funny.

        Between The Tick and Futurama, FOX is sending a clear signal that they don't want me watching their station anymore.
    • by EvlPenguin (168738) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:21PM (#2997031) Homepage
      FOX is nothing but a myriad of sleazy network executives. There were three things that kept me watching that channel after the X-Files started sucking (like, 4 seasons ago): Family Guy (now canceled!!!), Futurama (alas...) and The Simpsons. Now it's down to just the Simpsons.

      I'm not one to flame, but the people at FOX are smoking something with strong hallucinagenic qualities. What the hell are they going to replace it with? Another "extreme" game show?!??! Another Survivor rip-off?! Maybe they'll show re-runs of Boston Public! Ooooh!

      Regarding Family Guy -- what was perhaps the best [funniest] show on televesion -- there's a petition and information on a letter writing campaign over at Planet Family Guy [planetfamilyguy.com]. What a morbid world we live in.
    • Malcom in the Middle is pretty hilarious, but one show isn't enough to run a network on...just look at UPN.
    • by Hooya (518216)
      i hate tv. if you tape one of these shows and watch it in fast forward you'll know what i mean. 30 minutes show means 20 minutes of ads and 10 minutes of what is on the tv guide. no thank you. that's why i don't bother with cable/satallite/what-have-you. just news please. recently i've even stopped watching the news even. it's nothing short of cliffhangers full of sansationalism -- "an area women gives birth to seven headed green baby; news at 9". or "investigative reports!! 25 lifers are on the loose -- your life may be in danger -- news at 10". if my life was in danger, i'd really fucking appriciate them telling me now. who knows i may get my throat slit before 10. what a bunch of retards. TV has become an updatable billboard that people pay to get into their homes. someone's gonna have to pay me to get one of these things into my living room.
    • just what in the hell are they going to replace these shows with?
      COPS. Fox will eventually consist of nothing but COPS, with occasional interruptions for NASCAR, and the NFL.
    • Yes, FOX is as good at programming as they are at running a baseball team [dodgers.com].

      Simpsons excluded, of course.

      I just ended any chance I ever had of working for FOX, didn't I?
  • by Sarin (112173) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:05PM (#2996908) Homepage Journal
    You can download the aired futurama episodes at www.lando.co.uk [lando.co.uk]
  • by Teancom (13486) <david.gnuconsulting@com> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:06PM (#2996912) Homepage
    But like the "Tick" guy said in his interview, the whole letter-writing campaign thing has been played to death. Especially when a show has been on the air for four years, you can't exactly expect the network to "just give it a chance to build an audience". If they haven't got their audience already, I'm afraid a couple hundred people writing and saying "but, but, it's cool!" isn't going to change their mind.

    *shrug* Sorry, but that's the way it is...
    • by VP (32928)
      I just signed - from the time I entered the site until I confirmed my signature roughly 100 more people managed to sign the petition (nice Slahdot effect in action :-). Your estimate of a couple of hundred people is already off by an order of magnitude.
      • [This is in reply to both you and the AC]

        Electronic signatures mean jack-diddley. *Nobody* bases decisions on how stuffed an online petition is. The only way of getting their attention at *all* is physically writing a letter, licking a stamp, and sending it to the appropriate P.O. box, Hollywood, CA. Which brings me back to my original point, that the write-in campaign has been done to death. Psuedo-quoting the Tick guy, the studios realize that *every* fantasy/sci-fi show out there has it's fans, and you can be garunteed that they know with a reasonable accuracy how many of those people there are. So a letter from you saying that you like the show just isn't all that impressive. For whatever reason (crappy timeslot, lack of advertising, etc) the show isn't bringing enough eyeballs to the set, and it will be dropped, from *Fox*. IMNSHO, a *much* better campaign would be to pick a network (scifi, comedy-central, whatever) and target *them* with a letter writing campaign, urging them to pick up the show, and treat it right. I just have an incredibly hard time imagining Fox saying "Well, we *did* decide after four years this show just isn't working for us anymore, but now that we recieved a few hundred letters, we'll change our mind!" And, again, I stick by my "few hundred letters" theory. Personal experience tells me that one out of twenty people who sign the electronic petition will also write a letter (actually, that's being very generous, but oh well).
      • Trust me, electronic petitions mean nothing. I have had opprotunity to work with a couple of large institutions that have had web based petitions submitted to them for one thing or another (political). They aren't even looked at. It's too easy and the chance of fraud is huge. Even if they try to do email validation, etc., you just can't trust them. It's one man one vote, not one email address one vote.

        If you only care enough to fill in a couple of form fields and hit submit instead of taking the time to send an actual letter, you must not care very much at all.

        .
    • Personally, I would rather things end in their prime than survive as animated corpses. The X-Files has outlived its usefulness. The whole Star Trek franchise is overdue for euthanasia. The Simpsons, oddly enough, still seems to have some legs, but I don't know for how much longer.

      My attitude to these things is "let it go." The talent associated with the old series will find a new place to go, and often revitalize itself there. Writing and production teams get stale and insular if they don't go out and mix it up after a while.

    • by jd142 (129673) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:24PM (#2997060) Homepage
      It needs a decent time slot to get an audience. If they'd actually show the darn thing, people would watch it. Half the time it's pre-empted for either football or baseball. My suggestion is that fox never even try to have an original program at 6:00 central on a Sunday night. Just show a re-run on those few nights when there isn't some stupid sporting event.

      • My suggestion is that fox never even try to have an original program at 6:00 central on a Sunday night.

        Agreed.

        I think they'd do better to have Futurama share a time slot with Family Guy. The two shows combined could fill a whole season with programming where neither manages, or is allowed to, now.

        They could go one better and commit one whole hour a week for short seasons of niche shows. One week, show Family Guy and The Tick; Next week, show Futurama and _________. Next week back to Family Guy. Etc.

        Just put the hour somewhere in the schedule that isn't prone to being pre-empted. The current Thursday 8pm slot seems appropriate since their only chance is to couter-program the NBC sitcoms.
      • I know this is also a far fetched idea, but, how about if they *advertise* it??? I mean, I saw so many ads for that 80's show during the superbowl that it made me sick, and those were the 3rd generation ads for that show. Fox refuses to advertise The Family Guy, and they wonder why no one watches it.

    • I had a look at some of the other petitions on that site. Save Family Guy [petitiononline.com] seems to have about 10 times as many signatures as save Futurama. Any indication it's working for them?

      My personal favourite is this one [petitiononline.com].

    • Running a show for 4 years with virtually no promotion (oh yeah, like anyone can remember the last Futurama commercial they saw!) and pre-empting it for sports events on a whim... well, it's amazing Futurama has such a faithful audience to begin with. Fox has put roadblock and roadblock in front of Futurama and I somehow still managed to catch it every Sunday (at least the Sundays when Fox actually aired it).

      The Comedy Channel or SciFi Channel better pick this puppy up.
    • I agree, and I am not impressed with the high rate of signing of this petition.

      FOX cancelled Futurama knowing that it was getting 7 million viewers just a few months ago (according to Nielson, google cache here [google.com]). If 1 million dedicated viewers sign this petition, I don't see why FOX should care. Just because 1 million of those 7 million viewers are dedicated enough to sign a petition about the show doesn't mean anything -- dedicated viewers don't make FOX any more money than mildly interested viewers.

    • Bah! (Score:3, Funny)

      by CyberDruid (201684)
      I'll produce my own Futurama-show... With black jack... And hookers!
      In fact, forget the show.
      And the black jack.

      Aehhh... screw the whole thing! :(
  • by rizzo (21697) <don AT seiler DOT us> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:08PM (#2996926) Homepage Journal
    I loved the Simpsons in it's "prime" (circa seasons 2 through 7), but lately it has become tired and predictable. Futurama is laugh-out-loud funny and clever and ways that the Simpsons once promised but have stopped even trying to achieve.

    If you need to kill something Rupert, put the Simpsons to bed and move Futurama to the 8E/7C time slot. Having it at 7E/6C time slot is worthless considering FOX is a football network and football games never finish before then. I can't recall seeing a single episode that I actually sat at the TV waiting for.
    • Everyone always says crap like this, but if you'll excuse me, I disagree.

      I've found the Simpsons to be consistently amusing since day one. Yes, they've had some episodes that aren't perfect, but overall the recent seasons have been great.

      The brand of humor is changing. Perhaps you people can't handle that. But recent episodes such as HOMR (crayon in the brain) and Trilogy of Error (The thumb / Linguo / Smuggled firecrackers) have been terribly enjoyable.

      Buzz off, Simpsons are still great, and for as long as they can maintain this quality I've got no complaints. I don't want to seem them stick around past their prime, but we've still got a few years until we need to worry about that, IMHO.

      One more thing- another response to your comment mentioned disney-esque morals in recent episodes? Huh? Are we watching the same show?

      • by Civil_Disobedient (261825) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @04:10AM (#2999010)
        Slightly off-topic, but since the subject has come to the Simpsons, I must say this.

        HOMR is from last season, probably the last half-decent season the Simpsons will ever see. While Season 12 had more than the normal share of not-very-good episodes, this season has been truly awful. The reason is simple, and his name is Dana Gould.

        For those of you who don't know, Dana Gould is a failed stand-up comic who is now taking his lowest common denominator humor to the Simpsons and is singularly responsible for it's current lackluster -- hell, let's just be honest, god-awful humor. Homer getting raped by a panda? Homer finding a corpse as a child? The constant rehashing of previous plot-lines and characters? Say thank you to Dana.

        I now find myself tuning in every Sunday night with my fingers crossed, repeating a mantra of "Please don't suck... please don't suck" and for this entire season I have been disapointed. Certainly there were funny jokes. But the Simpsons has turned into stringing forced "big-laughs" into loosely-woven plotlines than generally tend to revolve around celebrities or Homer being an idiot. If you check the 2/10/02 episode, you'll count almost twenty-five producers. 25 producers. Management is strangling the life out of this wonderful series while Dana Gould stomps on its putrifying corpse with his steel-toed jack-boots.

        I think Lisa's hypothetical question at the end of the 1/6/02 episode says it all: "Is this the end of our series" ... "of events?"
      • by seanadams.com (463190) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @04:27AM (#2999039) Homepage
        Simpsons are still great, and for as long as they can maintain this quality I've got no complaints. I don't want to seem them stick around past their prime, but we've still got a few years until we need to worry about that, IMHO.

        The Simpsons has changed ever so gradually over the years. They started with great characters that everyone could relate to. Then as they ran out of jokes that every family with 2.3 children could appreciate, they started to get just plain bizarre. Sturgeons falling from the sky, homer's chest being ripped open by a dog, etc. There's a lot of these useless gags creeping into the recent episodes, and I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually getting tired of the Simpson's now.

        Futurama is what Groenings first animated sitcom would have been, had he not (presumably) been forced to give Fox something that wasn't so far out to begin with (See his Life In Hell books). The stories are damn funny, and the characters are ingenious (Zoidberg kicks ass). But what's different wrt the Simpsons is that this time there are no rules. You just couldn't have an egg sandwich causing a symbiotic worm colony in Homer's stomach, but it works great in Futurama. When you can pull off stories like that, you don't have to worry about ever running out of ideas.

        Anyway, no amount of petitioning Fox will increase the audience for this brilliant show. If you want Futurama to live, you need to get people WATCHING it.
  • A real shame that the Simpsons continues to be milked long past it's prime (let's not kid ourselves; Simpsons has been in a steady decline for some time now) while Futurama gets neglected despite a noticable superiority in both animation quality and humor (the recent Anthology ep, for example).
  • by Cheesemaker (36551) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:08PM (#2996932) Journal
    I think Futurama might have gotten more of a chance to build a fan base if it weren't always pre-empted by FOX NFL games.
    • It's not just that. Even when it gets a chance to show, it's still in a lousy slot. If they put it just after Simpsons, they'd have the ratings that they want. The way they have it set up, the show can't help but fail.
    • Very good point... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pollux (102520) <speter AT tedata DOT net DOT eg> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:37PM (#2997144) Journal
      I honestly feel that part of the reason why Futurama hasn't built up a huge fan base is because FOX never gave it a chance.

      To start things off, when Futurama was created by Matt Groening, FOX was joyous. The Simpsons were a huge hit, and FOX thought anything else by the hand of Matt Groening would be just as big a hit...as long as it was just like the Simpsons. The problem was that Groening didn't want that.

      I wish I had remembered what magazine it was, but there was an article back in 1998 which explained the creation of Futurama. When Groening told FOX that it was either his way or no way, FOX was real close to saying no, but the ratings they were getting from the Simpsons was too good to let go. Even then, there was a lot of clash between FOX and Groening in the development of Futurama, mostly because FOX wanted a Simpsons knockoff.

      When Futurama hit the air, guess who first watched it? Simpsons fans, and pretty much ONLY Simpsons fans, because FOX advertised it that way. "From the creator of the Simpsons..." was emphasized more than "A New show...". Many Simpsons fans who were expecting a knockoff stopped watching it when they realized it wasn't, and many others left because they wern't used to a different kind of comedy (Simpsons had the same problems during the first two seasons, but they won it out).

      Well, when you have a drop in the original fan base, and no increase in a new fanbase, ratings fall. When ratings fall, the show gets preemted for shows with higher ratings. The third season of Futurama didn't start until the second week of November, and this season didn't start until the third week. Even then, we've only seen four-or-so new episodes, since as Cheesemaker said, NFL has otherwise preemted Futurama.

      FOX is making a big mistake if they cancel Futurama, especially because they just haven't made the effort to promote it to new people (rather than just Simpsons fans). When I visited Norway last summer, I found out that many of the teenagers (at least in southern Norway) love Futurama, even more than the Simpsons, because Fry's character reflects that of a typical 20th century high school kid.

      Just for the record, I hope everyone realizes that each decade has at least one show that the TV execs thought was a failure, but instead became a big hit in syndication. The Brady Bunch made it only through five seasons, Giligans Island only survived for three, and need I remind everyone that Star Trek only sailed the skies for four?

      My only wish is that FOX doesn't give the same fate to Futurama.
      • Note: this is not a flamebait. I'm a huge fan of both the Simpsons and Futurama. In my opinion, Futurama is the better show.

        But the truth is that Futurama really is extremely similar to the Simpsons. The type of animation is exactly the same. The music's very similar. The voices are similar. The jokes are similar. The whole style, soul and idea of the show is the same. The only thing that's different is the period in time they're supposed to take place. Don't agree? Consider a hypothetical show by the name "Simpsons 3000". Can you imagine such a show not being very very similar to Futurama?

        You can argue all you want that Futurama is a great show that should be kept on the air - and I'm all with you - but don't tell me it's not a Simpsons knockoff. Believe me, it is, and it's worth saving anyway.

  • Spell check... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rothfuss (47480)
    Not to be a picky little bitch, but if you are going to submit a petition to a major network begging them not to kill your favorite TV show, and then ask thousands of others to sign along with you, take a minute to run it through your spell checker.

    -Rothfuss
  • by bartyboy (99076)
    Many good shows have been cancelled before. And maybe it's better that way. Once they reach their peak, they start to degenerate rather fast - just look at the Simpsons, which should have been dropped after season 7.

    Many other excellent shows have been cancelled before hitting their prime, (My So-called Life and Freaks And Geeks come to mind), but this isn't the case here - Futurama is terrific, and I don't think it can get any better, only worst.
  • NFL vs Futurama (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Link310 (453668) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:10PM (#2996945)
    I've always enjoyed Futurama, that is when I got a chance to watch it. Unfortunatly, on the East Coast, if Fox is showing any NFL game, it will inevitably run over the time slot for Futurama. This happened even with the SEASON PREMIER. So, as far as I'm concerned, I didn't watch it because they didn't air it. I seem to recall the same thing happening at back home in Miami with a Time Cop show. I never got to see it because the local ABC affiliate decided they should talk about monday night football instead.
  • Pretty cool thing...you can see the Slashdot effect in real time. Hit reload and the signature #'s on the page increase by about 2-3 a second.

  • Experiment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Platinum Dragon (34829) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:11PM (#2996949) Journal
    Perhaps FOX should switch the timeslots of Futurama and Malcolm in the Middle for, say, a month.

    FOX seems to have a history of trying to prop up weaker timeslots by relegating popular shows to crap times when no one is watching (or when everyone is watching other channels). Even the Simpsons got this treatment for a season or so, back when FOX didn't have as much strong programming to fall back on. The lack of good content to replace it on Sunday night at that time may be what saved the show from being cancelled; FOX just moved it back to the original 8 pm timeslot.

    If all else fails, perhaps the creators could see about getting the Comedy Channel or the Cartoon Network to fund and pick it up, something not unheard of for cult hits that get chopped by their original network.
  • I blame sports (Score:2, Interesting)

    by EddydaSquige (552178)
    If Fox didn't prempt it every other week for some game or another maybe it could get itto a groove that would make people watch all the time. How can you expect to develop a following if you only air the show once every other month. Constantly prempting a show is as bad as changeing its time slot 6 times over the season, and then blame a lack of rateings for the cancelation.
  • my fox affiliate (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hyperstation (185147)
    doesn't carry Futurama unfortunately (i have no idea why, the simpsons and m in the middle are on every sunday)....so i've been missing out anyhow

  • by Murdock037 (469526) <<tristranthorn> <at> <hotmail.com>> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:14PM (#2996974)
    ...Does anybody know how this would affect the planned upcoming DVD sets?

    Fox did pretty well for themselves by the Season 1 DVDs of "The Simpsons," and I remember rumblings that "Futurama" would follow not too far behind.

    It'd be a shame if these disappear, too; the commentaries on the Simpsons discs were as amusing as the shows themselves, and the Futurama crew has always struck me as being a bit sharper in their wit.

    At least Fox is still putting out quality programming like "That 80s Show" and "Temptation Island 2," right? I mean, right? Who's with me?
  • Petition UPN! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by malibucreek (253318) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:14PM (#2996978) Homepage
    Don't just petition Fox. If they've made up their mind, they've made it up. Even if they decide to consider the show as a midseason replacement, the production company will likely let people go before that call ever comes.

    Instead, petition UPN [upn.com] to pick it up. They have a history of picking up other networks' shows (Buffy, Roswell, etc.) and this one would fit in well with its lineup.

    The address:
    UPN Entertainment
    11800 Wilshire Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90025

    IMHO, this is the show's best hope.

  • Fox never gave this show a chance. Never in prime time and always pre-empted to finish a Nascar Race or Football game that ran over their slot. It's too bad. I really like this show.

    I won't lift a finger to help save it though. I leanred my lesson trying to save Mystery Science Theator 3000.

    You can't fight the man.

    • You can't fight the man.

      I'm going to be half-serious here...

      Dammit, that's what The Man wants you to think! The Man wants you to just sit down, shut up, and take whatever you get fed. You're not supposed to stand up with others who agree with you and say you want something to change, or stay the same. That would be interaction - and Big Media can't have that, beyond what little scraps the plebes get thrown with "online polls", "bulletin boards", and stupid contests.

      Try, man! Stand up and try! MST3K fans may have failed, but that doesn't mean they'll always fail.

      Hey, a mass letter-writing campaign worked for Star Trek. I'm sure us Futurama nerds can come up with some contemporary equivalent.

      FIGHT THE POWER!
  • If you go the root of that site: http://www.petitiononline.com/ [petitiononline.com], you will see that they still have tons of content/other petitions.
  • over here in belgium, ka2 is airing a futurama ep every day, starting from season 1 and its really gaining popularity... Too bad its over now :-(
  • As of now the number of signers on the petition is rising at about 100 sigs a minute.

    Cool :)
  • by spt (557979)
    So there's 4 seasons. Isn't that enough?

    Some of the best things come in small doses - take Fawlty Towers, for example, one of the funniest sitcoms ever, and they only made 12.
    John Cleese said he put everything it needed in those 12 episodes.

    If you can live with 'only' 4 seasons of Futurama, perhaps the writers will come up with something better.
  • Please, have somebody go through and fix all the spelling errors, and generally edit the petition. It looks sort of sloppy.
  • by SuperRob (31516) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:21PM (#2997034) Homepage
    WATCH the damned thing. Shows, even shitty ones, don't get cancelled if people WATCH them. If the show gets cancelled, it's because you aren't putting your viewing habits where your mouth is!

    I am as big a "fan" of Futurama and Family Guy as the next person. But when push comes to shove, there's other things on TV I'd rather watch more.

    That's why they've been cancelled. Fox needs shows that people will watch, and that means being BETTER than the stuff on the other two (three, counting CBS) networks.
    • WATCH the damned thing. Shows, even shitty ones, don't get cancelled if people WATCH them. If the show gets cancelled, it's because you aren't putting your viewing habits where your mouth is!

      What good would it do if I watched the show? I don't have a Nelson box on my TV so how would FOX know if I'm watching it? (Which I do)

      The better solution, as others have pointed out, is if FOX had slotted Futurama after Simpsons or some other popular show (do they have any others?)
    • And watching the show without some mechanism for the network (in this case Fox) to know that you're watching helps how?

      IIRC, ratings are based on feedback (collected by a device that figures out what channel you're watching) from a "random" sampling of television viewers. I say "random" because apparently these people watch shows like Millionaire and Survivor and Temptation Island that I just can't stand.
  • by skoda (211470) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:23PM (#2997048) Homepage
    I wonder how many people are signing the petition to save Futurama, who don't watch the show.

    Consider, best case scenario:
    - 80 gazillion people sign the petition.
    - FOX says, "Great Googly-moogly! We didn't know we had all these viewers. Keep Futurama on the air!"
    - Futurama stays on the air
    - After a year, ratings, surveys, etc. reveal that, as FOX originally thought, only 80 people actually watch Futurama.
    - FOX yanks Futurama.
    - FOX never listens to a petition again.

    If you are signing the petition, but have not and will not watch the show, you're really not helping.
    • by Fweeky (41046)
      Unfortunately, being among the majority of people in the known Universe, I don't get 1000 channels to choose from, so unless it's going to be on terrestrial or Sky One (which already has constant reruns of The Simpsons, 3-4/day ffs) or so, the closest me and 10 million other Brits are going to get to seeing it is a dodgy DivX :(

      So far I've seen the first series cut very badly on Channel 4, the first two in crappy .rm format, and about 3 DivXed episodes after that.
  • great idea!! lets slashdot the petition!
  • See also: (Score:4, Informative)

    by farnsworth (558449) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:25PM (#2997061)
    see also "X-Fry" and "X-Bender" http headers at http://slashdot.org

    HTTP/1.1 200 OK
    Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2002 21:29:08 GMT
    Server: Apache/1.3.20 (Unix) mod_perl/1.25
    mod_gzip/1.3.19.1a
    SLASH_LOG_DATA: shtml
    X-Powered-By: Slash 2.003000
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  • ...has a history of murdering its good shows (Family Guy, Futurama, Get a Life) while letting once-good shows languish (X-Files, the Simpsons, Ally McFucking Beal).

    People wonder why they're still the number 4 network; I don't.

    - A.P.
    • Re:FOX... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Wntrmute (18056)
      I'm convinced that the Fox network execs are completely incompetant. Let's take a look:

      Futurama: About to go.
      Family Guy: About to go.
      The Tick: Gone, and never given a chance, with one of the worst timeslots on TV, opposite "Friends" and "Survivor".
      24: Possibly one of the best TV dramas *ever*, and was in danger of being pulled until it had great success with the critics and at the Golden Globes.
      Titus: One of the funnier sitcoms on TV, had it's episodes cut.
      Undeclared: Another decently funny show, which also had it's episodes cut. Note that the creator of this show is pissed, as Fox already screwed around with him on "Freaks and Geeks."
      Grounded for Life: Another decently funny show, had it episodes cut.
      Dark Angel: A show that developed a cult following in it's first season, then was moved to Friday, a night during which it's target demographic *isn't home*.

      These are just off the top of my head, this season alone. I'm sure if I thought back to seasons past, I could come up with more. With how abysmal ABC's lineup is right now, you'd think they'd take advantage of it. (Yeah, I pay *way* too much attention to pop culture, so sue me. :-)
  • Fox turned into a hard core porn channel so gradually no one even noticed.
  • So how is slashdoting an online petition any diferent from Microsoft rigging a poll? Slashdot is reaching new lows.

    (relax it's a joke)
  • So how much does it cost to make an episode of Futurama, anyway? That is probably one of the key questions in determining if Cartoon Network or possibly Comedy Central picks it up.

    Also, there may be legal issues. Some shows are made by outside companies and can switch networks when contracts expire or are terminated (e.g., Buffy). Others are made by the networks themselves, and don't have a prayer of ever moving to a channel not owned by that network. Is there any confirmation that Futurama is produced under a contract that will allow them to go to another network?

    Just questions. Too bad I can't post the answers.
  • by DragonPup (302885) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:29PM (#2997096)
    7 PM EST sunday night? Talk about a toss it and forget it time slot! Half the episodes get preempted(and cancelled for the night) by sports events, award shows that we don't care about, etc

    If you gave Futurama the 8:30 slot(currently in use by Malcom in the Middle, directly after the Simpsons), Futurama would do a lot better ratings wise.

    -Henry
  • I guess I just wanted to write about it. I kinda had the feeling this would happen. I and many with me loves this show, but they haven't ordered more. I don't like many shows, and most I start to find boring before I come to the 10th episode. I still get all excited when there is a new Futurama out. I've seen them all, I ordered my Futurama DVD Box today (already got the Simpsons one of course) and I hunger for more. And this is what happens. I hope they move both Simpsons and Futurama to a nicer network, but I do wonder what will happen with the DVDs then.

    Life is unfair...
    -John
  • by GeekLife.com (84577) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:31PM (#2997111) Homepage
    It's dubious how much a network pays attention to these sort of online petitions, but it would greatly improve your chances if you spellchecked the petition first. And then have 10 people proofread it.

    happyness?
    quantitiys?
    possibilitiys?
    inivative?
    funnny?
    entertaing?
    unfinnished?
    interupting?

    And "Simpsons" should be capitalized as well. The networks probably won't listen anyway, but you might as well not give them specific excuses for discarding your petition.
  • Here's the problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vex24 (126288) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:32PM (#2997114) Homepage
    If Futurama is getting low ratings, it's for two reasons:

    1. Fox plays it at 7 PM. I'd always figured it would slip into the 8 PM spot when the Simpsons ended and quickly jump in ratings.

    2. Futurama viewers are not "average enough" to become Nielson viewing households. College students and Slashdot readers aren't "average" citizens. The "average" people are the ones that keep shows like "The View" and "WWF RAW" on the air. ;)
  • by roystgnr (4015) <.roystgnr. .at. .ticam.utexas.edu.> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:32PM (#2997116) Homepage
    Fox just doesn't have enough room in it's busy schedule full of quality programming to squeeze in Futurama! Why, look at the Austin affiliate's jam packed lineup tonight:
    • The Teenage Sex and Drugs Hour (Formerly titled "That 70's Show" and "Undeclared")
    • 24 (Sure, there are rumors that this could go away and empty up an hour of space soon, but who knows: they could rename it "48" and surprise you!)
    • Fox 7 News at Nine (This takes up a whole hour, of course, because you just can't shave any time out of a local news channel and still preserve Fox's world-renowned reputation for journalistic depth and integrity. Tonight's banner headline from www.fox7.com: "Back pain can be excruciating!")
    • Um, er, well... that's it for current programming. But they surround it with four hours of reruns (allowing them to spend less on expensive new programming, and pass the savings on to you, the viewer!), "Fox 7 News at Five" (for the hour full of important breaking stories that just can't wait until 9), and the late night rerun of "Fox 7 News at Nine".

    And it goes on like that, night after night! Why would they want to air a clone of a successful Fox show like The Simpsons, when they can air "That 80's Show"? And have you seen the fan base behind "Grounded for Life"? You can't do a single search on Morpheus without tripping over DivX episodes of that runaway hit. And let's not forget the lucrative DVD revenues from "Titus"!

    Basically, there's no place for Futurama in the Fox lineup anymore. Saturday night is locked down with "Human Scum TV", craftily filling in the space between COPS and America's Most Wanted with COPS reruns! So what are they going to do? If only Fox was running three other humorous adult animation shows to fill out the rest of two hours, perhaps they'd be able to create some sort of thematically unified lineup, but where would they find three shows like that on short notice?
  • Just putting in my 2 cents. Save Futurama. The more geeks that reply to this story, the better.
  • by johnstewart (191901) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:37PM (#2997154) Homepage
    Don't cancel it, just rename it to match the other fine, fine programming on FOX.

    Some potential winners:

    - Temptation Spaceship 5
    - When Aliens Attack
    - Who Wants to Marry a One-Eyed Woman?
    - Bender in the Middle
    - That 2970's Show
  • Just to be rational, I'd like to know two things:

    1) What is the highest total of online signatures a TV show has recevied on this or similar websites.

    2) Did it matter?

  • I watched "Futurama" for a while. I have to admit that it was (usually) funnier than "The Simpsons" was at the same time. (But, let's face it, my old college roommate after a few beers is funnier than "The Simpsons" has been in the last few seasons.) And sometimes, usually when it was making fun of some current or not-so-current event, it achieved a cockeyed kind of greatness (e.g. the _Titanic_ parody, or the episode where Bender does a Joe Hazelwood, only by not drinking.)

    But "Futurama" was a mean, nasty little show in comparison to "The Simpsons" at its best. "The Simpsons" in its early seasons was wicked, but it never lost sight of the essential humanity of its characters. Homer was dumb and often small-minded, but he'd occasionally come through and do the right thing. Lisa was there to remind us that even the worst of families can sometimes produce something right. Hell, even Bart had his moments.

    But "Futurama" had nothing but contempt for its characters. Fry has never been anything else but an idiot. Bender is...well, Bender; if he ever deviates from his cruel, mean-spirited ways, it's for the sake of a cheap joke. Leela provides some counterbalance, I suppose, but more often than not the show seems bent on finding some way to humiliate her (qq.v. any episode with Zapp Brannigan, the "Married with Children" parody episode.)

    Hey, but if you get your kicks from cruelty masquerading as comedy, then you'll be sorry to see "Futurama" go. I won't be.

    hyacinthus.
  • let me be the wet blanket that says Futurama should be let go quietly. It was past it's due date, and well, sometimes you have to let go.

    -dB

  • A few weeks ago when the Nielsen people called at an inconvenient time and hounded me about doing a survey, I agreed to it. For those that have never done a media survey before, they are an annoyance. The burden is on you to keep a log and mail it out, every once in a while you'll get a phone call to make sure you're keeping up on it. It's a real intrusion into your life with no immediate benefits other than the few dollars they send to guilt you into doing your journal.

    I felt it important to do because my tastes are not mainstream and if I don't make my interests known no one will cater to me. I did watch Futurama on Sunday night and it did go in my little log. I bring this up because I wonder how many Slashdotters watch Futurama, enjoy Futurama, but blew off a similiar caller because they didn't want to deal with the hassle or privacy issues.

  • by MathJMendl (144298) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:53PM (#2997276) Homepage
    To be quite honest, while I love shows like The Family Guy and Futurama, I question how much petitions like this do. True, they gave it a terrible timeslot, but the real "petition" is to watch it (although without a Nielsen box it doesn't do much).

    I mean, looking through the petitions on petitiononline.com [petitiononline.com], we see:

    1337 sp3ak in 5(}{00l !! [petitiononline.com]
    [petitiononline.com]
    A petition to the WWF in honor of the Undertaker [petitiononline.com]
    Let's Import Japan [petitiononline.com]

    A bit hard to take this seriously, especially considering how little effort it takes to sign a petition. A bigger noise would be made by sending postcards, that would fill their mailboxes.
  • leela (Score:4, Funny)

    by ainsoph (2216) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:55PM (#2997291) Homepage
    who else thinks Leela is sexy?
  • maybe we should sign up in shifts, I don't know how popular we'd be if we slashdotted their server.

  • Production costs (Score:2, Informative)

    by molrak (541582)
    It's doubtful that Futurama or Family Guy could make the transition to cable using their current production methods. According to one Family Guy FAQ [planetfamilyguy.com], the average production cost of each episode is $1.1 million (U.S.). While that's peanuts for network television (for example, Friends' 6 primary cast members are almost making that much an episode per 'Friend'), 1.1 mil is still outside the reach of most cable outlets. In all probability, Futurama probably costs more due to the 3-d effects employed in its animation, and also has a higher profile voice cast (Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John Dimaggio [who won the Annie this year for best voice actor]). So the only chances of Futurama's survival are Fox or another network.


  • I am a young, educated professional with pretty hefty chunk of disposable income. Most of my friends are young, educated professionals with a hefty chunks of disposable income. Most of my friends enjoy the same shows I do (things like futurama, family guy, adult swim, and others). Now, as far as I know, young professionals with disposable income is a pretty choice demographic.

    So why is it good shows that people like me watch always seem to be going off the air just when I start to enjoy them, while shows that seem to appeal to a, er, less desirable demographic seem to succeed? Something like 'Temptation Island' may get a large viewer base, but from what I've experienced (and I don't claim to be an expert), those types of people would be of little interest to advertisers, save places like Wal-mart or used car dealerships with a large inventory of pickup trucks.

    I'm not trying to be elitist, I'm sure at one point I'll get married and the drudgery of work and family will stretch my mind so much I'll take solace in the soothing simplicity of bad TV, while stretching my wallet to the point where sales at Wal-Mart will become interesting. But for the time being, well, I'm not.

    So I've been trying to figure out why Fox has handled Futurama the way they have, and this is what I've come up with.

    1. The ratings system is really, really off base. Somehow, the companies who track ratings are giving incorrect numbers back to the networks, or the advertisers are reading them wrong. In college I was an account executive for a radio station (meaning I sold advertising). I found extensive frustration in the fact that our numbers were always very low while our ads always had such good direct feedback. I remember once a failed pitch I had with the owner of a bicycle shop, who would buy ads from a competitor (a country and western station) that cost 10 times as much as ours. Why? Because their ratings were higher. While I'm sure people who like country buy bicycles, after years of advertising the stores prime clientele appeared to remain the sort of people who preferred rock.

    2. The networks are full of idiots. I don't mean their stupid because the shows are so bad; It's been decades since quality was a priority, only money matters now. (Rupert Murdoch even admitted years ago in an interview that the only show he really enjoys watching on his network was the 'Simpsons'). But even with money a priority, they still manage to muck it up. If you have a show with promise that's starting to catch on, you don't run it in a timeslot opposite a highly popular show on another network, then shrug your shoulders thinking 'oh I wonder why the ratings went down'. They make programming changes that succeed more in alienating viewers then to expose new shows. They seem to over promote the sort of stuff that just won't catch on, and ignore shows that might attract viewers.

    3. The advertisers are idiots. Television is a for-profit business, and in all fairness, they will do whatever it takes to accommodate their revenue stream. On the other hand, it's the job of the people in marketing to get their message out to the largest number of potential customers for the least amount of money. So why then do I see ads for tampons during reruns of 'The A-Team'? Sure, woman watch 'The A-Team', but it seems to me they could have spent the cash for the A-team spot on another show that would reach a larger number of potential customers for the same amount of money. So many times I see an ad on TV and think 'I can't of anyone who would watch this show that would buy this product'.

    For all the money advertisers spend on research and production, they so often forget about actually reaching their target demographic when it's time to buy ad space. A show like Futurama may only get 150,000 viewers (I'm making these numbers up for the sake of example), but if 75% of those viewers are likely to spend more then $1,000 a year on electronic equipment, you have a pretty solid demographic for the electronics based industry. . .at least enough to keep the show running. But instead of looking at those demographics, a company will spend more money to buy a spot on a show that has a viewer base of 1 million (say, a temptation island), despite the fact that only 5% of those viewers are in their demographic. Do a little math, and you realize there are some misplaced resources.

    4. People are idiots. We put up with poor programming. We pay extra for cable so we can receive more channels with more advertising. We holler and scream when our favorite shows are canceled and beg networks to let us make money for them. It could be that all my armchair analysis above is wrong. There is some deep logical reasoning for the seemingly asinine behavior of the networks and advertisers that maximizes profits. It could be this model will continue to be used so as long as we put up with it despite the fact that no viewer is ever really satisfied.

    I'd like to think it's some sort of combination of the first three, but there is this sad, nagging voice that tells me it's all 4.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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