After spending a few years researching science fiction, Matt Groening teamed up with writer/producer David X. Cohen (still known as “David S. Cohen”) in 1997 and developed “Futurama,” an animated series about life in the year 3000.
By the time they pitched the series to Fox in April 1998, Groening and Cohen had composed many characters and storylines; Groening claimed they had gone “overboard” in their discussions. Groening described trying to get the show on the air as “by far the worst experience of (his) grown-up life.” The show premiered on March 28, 1999. Groening’s writing credits for the show are for the premiere episode, “Space Pilot 3000″ (co-written with Cohen), “Rebirth” and “In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela.”
After four years on the air, the show was canceled by Fox.
In a situation similar to “Family Guy,” however, strong DVD sales and very stable ratings on Adult Swim brought “Futurama” back to life. When Comedy Central began negotiating for the rights to air “Futurama” reruns, Fox suggested that there was a possibility of also creating new episodes. When Comedy Central committed to sixteen new episodes, it was decided that four straight-to-DVD films – “Bender’s Big Score” (2007), “The Beast with a Billion Backs” (2008), “Bender’s Game” (2008) and “Into the Wild Green Yonder” (2009) – would be produced.
Since no new “Futurama” projects were in production, the movie “Into the Wild Green Yonder” was designed to stand as the “Futurama” series finale. However, Groening had expressed a desire to continue the “Futurama” franchise in some form, including as a theatrical film. In an interview with CNN, Groening said that “we have a great relationship with Comedy Central and we would love to do more episodes for them, but I don’t know…We’re having discussions and there is some enthusiasm but I can’t tell if it’s just me.”
Comedy Central commissioned an additional 26 new episodes, and began airing them in 2010. The show continued until 2013, before Comedy Central announced in April 2013 that it would not be renewing “Futurama” beyond its seventh season. The final episode aired on September 4, 2013.