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Hank Hill has sold his last tank of propane: Fox animation stalwart "King of the Hill" is calling it a day at the end of this season.

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Show is wrapping up production after 13 years and nearly 260 episodes.

Complete finality is never certain when it comes to Fox animation. The net actually has canceled "King of the Hill" in the past only to turn around and pick up more episodes later on. And shows like "Family Guy" and "Futurama" have also been revived after cancellation.

But for now, the show's staff was informed of the network's decision Thursday not to pick up any more episodes.

Viewers will still see original episodes of "King" for some time, however. Because of erratic episodic orders in recent years -- as well as fall football-related preemptions -- the show's production cycles don't coincide with the traditional TV season. Episodes airing right now, for example, are actually from the show's 12th cycle.

Episodes from the 13th cycle don't bow until February, which means Fox will still have original episodes left over to use next TV season as well, if needed.

Decision not to renew "King" comes as Fox prepares to launch several new skeins in its "Animation Domination" lineup -- including "The Cleveland Show" and "Sit Down, Shut Up." Fox has been aggressively looking to freshen up its animated stable in recent years.

"King" is the second longest running primetime animated skein in history, behind only "The Simpsons." And it's currently the second longest running comedy in primetime -- again, behind only "The Simpsons."

Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels as a companion piece to "The Simpsons," the 20th Century Fox TV laffer first bowed on Jan. 12, 1997.

Judge stars as blue-collar Hank Hill, who lives in fictional suburb Arlen, Texas, along with wife Peggy (Kathy Najimy) and son Bobby (Pamela Adlon). Other vocal stars include Brittany Murphy, as Hank's niece Luanne; Stephen Root, as sad-sack neighbor Bill; Johnny Hardwick, as conspiracy-minded Dale; and Tom Petty, as Luanne's husband, Lucky. Judge also provides the voice of Boomhauer.

Judge and Daniels are exec producers, along with John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Jim Dauterive, Garland Testa, Howard Klein and Michael Rotenberg.

Source: Variety.com

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Wait! This Just In....

Reports of "King of the Hill's" dethronement might have been premature.

Insiders at 20th Century Fox TV confirm that at least one network has expressed interest in "King," which was handed its pink slip just last week by Fox.

ABC is believed to be that suitor, as "King" would make a strong companion to the net's upcoming animated comedy "The Goode Family." Even more fitting, "Goode" comes from "King of the Hill" exec producers Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.

A "King" pickup would give ABC a well-known franchise to help bolster "Goode's" chances. It's a defacto network scheduling rule, learned at Fox through years of trial and error, that animated half-hours fit best with other animated half-hours.

Fox's decision not to order any new episodes of "King," meanwhile, came just three days before the animated laffer posted its best ratings in a year, averaging a 4.3 rating and 10 share among adults 18-49 on Sunday night.

Still, network insiders said Fox won't likely change its mind on the "King" cancellation. Net is looking to freshen up its animated stable, and after 260 episodes, believed "King" was ready for retirement.

Other potential homes for "King" include Comedy Central, FX or Cartoon Network - but the show, which would be entering its 14th season, is believed to be too expensive at this point in its run for a cabler.

If another network picks up "King," the show could potentially wind up airing on two nets at once. That's because Fox's stockpile of original "King" episodes will keep the show on the net through next fall. Nonetheless, it's expected that whatever network purchases the show will wait for the Fox broadcast window to conclude.

Source: Variety.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

"King of the Hill" producers are still negotiating with ABC over the possibility of the network acquiring the canceled Fox series. But it's not going too well.

So what's the problem?

Originally I reported that the tricky part is that ABC plans to premiere "King" creator Mike Judge's new animated show "The Goode Family" in midseason and would like to pair "King" with "Goode." But the problem is that new episodes of "King" won't be ready until next fall due to the long production process. ABC has to choose between Option A (premiere "Goode" solo in midseason) and Option B (delay "Goode" until next fall and premiere both shows together).

Except ABC, being clever and rather ambitious, had a best-of-both-worlds Option C in mind that didn't occur to me: Convince Fox to give up its remaining final season "King" episodes so ABC can air "King" and "Goode" together in midseason.

Wow!

I know right?

But ... why would Fox agree to that?

Yeah. Well, that's the same thing Fox thought: Why would we agree to that? At press tour last summer, ABC entertainment president Steve McPherson said, rather movingly, that the broadcast economic downturn has him rooting for everybody to succeed. But that doesn't mean everybody is rooting for ABC to succeed.

Source: www.thrfeed.com

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