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Television Media

Concerning The Cancellation of Futurama 684

Andie Similon of 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)
  • by rizzo ( 21697 ) <don@seiler . u s> 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.
  • by theRhinoceros ( 201323 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:08PM (#2996927)
    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.
  • Spell check... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rothfuss ( 47480 ) <chris,rothfuss&gmail,com> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:09PM (#2996934) Homepage
    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.

  • 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.
  • 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 [] 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.

  • by spt ( 557979 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:21PM (#2997026)
    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.
  • 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 []. What a morbid world we live in.
  • 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.
  • by VP ( 32928 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:22PM (#2997041)
    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.
  • 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.
  • That's ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enry ( 630 ) <> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:24PM (#2997056) Journal
    Even when they do tell you it's on, you'll wind up watching about 20 minutes of post-game football followed by 10 minutes of Futurama "already in progress".

    They probably want the space for "that 90s show".
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. ;)
  • Typical Fox. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:35PM (#2997129)
    This seems to be a standard tactic of Fox's; put a show in a crappy timeslot, watch the rating plummet (or never go anywhere in the first place), then cancel it for the bad ratings.

    I would love to say that I've seen the Tick (live-action), but I NEVER saw an ad for it once the show had started; I saw plenty of "coming soon" ads, but NOTHING once it was out, so I never knew when it was on. Kinda lazy of me, I know, but most of the time I only turn the TV on when something good is on, and I don't have a TV guide or such.

    For that matter, anyone remember Space: Above and beyond? Totally kickass show IMHO, and they advertised the fuck out of it before it aired. But once it started, they started using a fucked-up random number generator to decide the times, EVERY WEEK. I only saw the first couple episodes, cuz they moved it around so much I couldn't keep track, forgot, or was given the wrong time by the TVGuide. Royally pissed me off, and the show was cancelled mid-season, IIRC.

    I'd love to say we can save Futurama, but I just don't think it's gonna happen; the almighty Network Executives(tm) have passed the decision, and it's gonna take an act of God to get them to change their minds.
  • by kopper187 ( 59901 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:35PM (#2997135)
    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?)
  • Very good point... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pollux ( 102520 ) <speter@t e d a t a> 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 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.
  • by Teancom ( 13486 ) <> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:39PM (#2997165) Homepage
    [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).
  • by amuro98 ( 461673 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:39PM (#2997169)
    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 Hooya ( 518216 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:46PM (#2997230) Homepage
    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.
  • by tempest303 ( 259600 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <nostunksnej>> on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @07:54PM (#2997281) Homepage
    how is blatantly NON-fair-use copyright violation "free speech?"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:05PM (#2997369)
    Working on a stint for Disney, I worked on lot of television shows. Trust me, email campagins don't mean didley. If you want to make an impressiion, write a letter. Letters, I believe, are considered to be represenative of 30,000 viewers, whereas emails are something like 10, or maybe lower than that. (maybe one, truthfully)

    But also understand, there might be other reasons for a show's cancellation which might have nothing to do with the show taking in ad revenue. For example, Le Femme Nitka was cancelled, but it was making a fine profit. It just wasn't making enough of a profit, and also, I think they grew tired of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:08PM (#2997393)
    I'm surprised no one here can figure out why all these shows are getting cancelled. Just take one look at the ratings and you'll see why. When networks go to see which shows are good shows, they don't go around asking for opinions of the show they look at the ratings to see who is watching what. All of these shows had virtually no viewers (a million or so viewers in a prime time spot is virtually nothing. A signature campaign doesn't work because all those signatures come out of those million or so viewers plus people who will sign anything. The only thing that could save those shows is if suddenly 6 or 7 million people began to watch them). Although some of that is stupidity (Why FOX put Family Guy up against Survivor and Friends and expected it to do well is beyond me... If you want to save a show, just track down a couple thousand people with the tv rating boxes, and force them to watch the shows you like.
  • by TheMonkeyDepartment ( 413269 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:17PM (#2997452)
    Hey, I'm no Anglo-centrist, but it seems to me that a petition like this would be taken more seriously if it wasn't loaded with spelling and grammatical errors. "What kind of people would think something like this is important?" you might ask. The kind of people who would cancel a great show like Futurama. Seriously, good spelling and grammar will get you a lot further.
  • by KingoftheEvilDead ( 538492 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:19PM (#2997466) Homepage
    Fox has an all purpose show for this sort of occasion... Welcome back World's Wildest Police Videos (with Sheriff John Bunnell)! It's cheap and easy to produce. It doesn't get particularly good ratings, but at the price they can buy it at it'll fill yet another hole in Fox's schedule. For people who like vicarious, trashy TV, Woo hoo! Hey, it's a hundred times better than Temptation Island 2.
  • by theDigitizer ( 239913 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @08:48PM (#2997607) Homepage Journal
    From the website -

    HERE []

    P.O. Box 900
    Attn: Futurama
    Beverly Hills, CA 90213-0900

    Send those letters! Snail mail is the only thing they listen to. Not online petitions or e-mail!

  • by bugg ( 65930 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @09:21PM (#2997734) Homepage
    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 schon ( 31600 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2002 @10:02PM (#2997961)
    How can it get bad ratings when they never show it?

    Thanks - you just provided insight into why it's been cancelled - so it can never get bad ratings!

    By cancelling it, they not only make sure that it never gets bad ratings, but they don't have to pay for it either!

    (I'm laughing as I write this, but it scares me that it just might be what's going through some Fox executive's head.)
  • by Your Login Here ( 238436 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @12:25AM (#2998476)
    I wouldn't worry about family guy. It gets cancelled every year, but then they promise to behave and not get in trouble with the censors. So fox orders more episodes. Naturally the FG team ignores their earlier promises and does what they want. So fox cancels them.

    The bottom line is that they are still airing new episodes, and most of my friends watch it. At least they do when we can find them.

    Futurama OTOH has trouble reaching people who don't get all the sci-fi references. And some of the episodes suffer from too many jokes about the sixties (Nixon isn't that funny to people under 30). But I can always forgive a show that gave us the line "Woah, I think that hippie's kicking in".
  • by zerocool^ ( 112121 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @12:32AM (#2998505) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by ( 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.
  • by Hector73 ( 463708 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @08:55AM (#2999377)
    Bring back Chris Elliot!

    Remember that show where he was a 30 year old paperboy living in his parents garage, I think it was called Get a Life.

    Now that was funny!
  • Re:That's ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @09:35AM (#2999488)
    My problem is that king of the hill is so unfunny and painful to watch. So i watch Futurama (which i think is pretty good), then i have to sit through that bore of a show KotH to get to the simpsons. If it was right before (or after) the simpsons, i'd defaintly watch it more. But i usually would rather miss it and KotH and get into something good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 13, 2002 @01:13PM (#3000774)
    moral of the story

    Matt Groening said long ago that a defining moment of The Simpsons, in his mind, was in the Bart Gets an F episode, when Bart prays to pass his test. He says it made Bart a character, not just an icon of trouble-making. It showed he had soul and wasn't simply a caricature of naughty boys. Whatever people think the Simpsons is supposed to be like, Groening intended them to be realistic characters. While the nonsequitur, zany episodes are often hilarious, I personally find character-driven episodes to be the best, and the jokes that play off of the characters' personalities are often the funniest. So I liked the corpse episode, and the Buddhism episode, and even the Manjula episodes (well, the original one. Subsequent ones were kind of off-the-wall).

    If you want South Park, *watch* South Park.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.