As we all know, The Simpsons and Futurama crossed over last night. When we were finished crying at the episode’s cheap shot out of nowhere, and enjoyed the fairly solid mix of the two shows, we’re still left wondering why Fox bothered, beyond it being sweeps and The Simpsons being out of ideas. And the answer might be just be that Fox is setting up Futurama for a comeback.
To understand why, let’s look at their Sunday lineup. The Simpsons and Family Guy will basically be on the air until the end of human civilization, and Bob’s Burgers has a dedicated audience. But even its star thinks Mulaney is dead, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine has held steady instead of breaking out like it was supposed to on Sunday.
So, they’re going to have a hole in their Sunday schedule, likely two of them if they move Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Add to this the network’s other problems, like the expensive Utopia being canceled, Heiroglyph being removed from the schedule before it even aired, Sleepy Hollow‘s ratings slipping, and American Idol finally losing its grip on the national consciousness, and you’ve got a network that’s desperate for something that they know will work. If you want proof, consider that Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? is officially back, complete with Jeff Foxworthy as host.
Futurama, arguably, is ideal for Fox right now. Granted, we’re talking about a show that got canceled twice, the second time for actual ratings instead of network bumbling. But it’s got a passionate fanbase who’d tune in, and a semi-passionate group of fans willing to DVR new episodes and declare them mediocre. Another factor worth considering is Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon: Futurama is enormously popular on streaming sites, and that’s another way the show’s adding to Fox’s coffers.
Will it happen? Any other show, we’d say “no,” but considering its history, we won’t be surprised if the Planet Express crew suits up on their old network. Besides, the show said it best themselves: