'Futurama' canceled (again) after seven seasons on Comedy Central

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"Futurama" is heading into cancellation yet again. Comedy Central has decided not to renew the animated series after seven seasons on that network. Why was the sci-fi, comedy cartoon canceled this time?

The basic reason seems to be, as always, declining ratings over the past few seasons. EW.com, which first broke the news, quoted Dave Bernath, the executive vice president of programming at Comedy Central as saying the show had a "he**uva run" as it came to its end. "I'm more thankful and feel a sense of gratitude toward the whole process -- and that we found a way to keep going for 52 more episodes -- than I really am even thinking about the ending. It's a blessing that it came back and lasted so long."

The Comedy Central tenure of "Futurama" comprises its relaunch from 2008 to the present. The series, from "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, originaly aired on FOX between 1999 and 2003. When that network canceled the show, successful reruns on Adult Swim led to four movies aired on Comedy Central as the show's Season 5. Their success led to Seasons 6 and 7 on the cable network.

While this definitely comes as sad (although probably not unexpected news) to fans, the cancellation might be worth it, just for the comments from the "Futurama" creators. "It was what I had expected two years earlier," Cohen told EW. "At this point, I keep a suitcase by my office door so I can be canceled at a moment's notice." The series co-creator then added that this was "our best 'last season ever' ever" and described the final episodes as "classics."

Will "Futurama" shift networks yet again? "We're catching our breath and seeing what fans have to say," Groening said. "The experience of this show has been so much fun from the very beginning to now -- everybody is so happy to work on this show -- that it'd be a shame if we went our separate ways." When pressed to explain how the show could continue, the producer added "Perhaps 'Futurama will return in another form, on the Internet or as a puppet show in the park. Or maybe as a puppet show in the park on the Internet." Cohen chose to insist that this was in fact the end. "As I said three times before, this is definitely the absolute end of the show," he explained. "I don't know why nobody believes me when I say that."

Set in the 31st century and full of robots and mutants and stuff like that, "Futurama" has enjoyed critical success and a devoted fan base over the years. It also won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program in 2002 and 2011. The final episodes (on Comedy Central anyway) will begin airing on Wednesday, June 19 at 10pm.

Photo/Video credit: Comedy Central