There’s certainly an argument to be made that the salad days of animated television are now behind us, at least as far as it pertains to the state of it on the major networks. Three of the onetime Big Four aren’t even bothering any longer, and even FOX has recently moved away from animation as a key part of its Sunday night block of programming, which has been ruled by The Simpsons and its standard bearers for decades since that show’s emergence as a major cultural force. The arguments are simple: it’s expensive to make, it’s hard to maintain the quality of any style of comedy over a prolonged period of time, and animation just feels so old-school these days.
Some greatness came out of TV animation’s golden era, though, and one of the luminaries has long been King of the Hill. The FOX series, which ran from 1997-2010, always felt like a more regionally Southern rebuke to the distinct Midwestern-ness of The Simpsons, and creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels did a generally strong job of maintaining the show’s dry, generally kind-hearted sense of humor over its lengthy run. It’s made for great insomnia viewing through its numerous syndicated distributions for years, most famously its longtime presence as an early-block pillar of Adult Swim, and now it’ll call Comedy Central home.
The Viacom-owned network announced today that it has purchased all 13 seasons of King of the Hill from 20th Century FOX, as well as all four seasons of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show. King will begin airing next week, on July 23rd, and The Cleveland Show will return to airwaves sometime in the fall, for the first time since its cancellation in 2013.
There had been some talk of a possible revival of King of the Hill at FOX. Last year, FOX Television Group chairman and CEO Dana Walden confirmed that the network and Judge had “preliminary conversations” about creating new episodes. “I would like to explore that. We had a very preliminary conversation given what’s going on in the country, they had a point of view about how those characters would respond. But again, it was one meeting and I hope to revisit it,” Walden said at the time.
Regardless of a revival or now, thanks to Comedy Central’s syndication, a new generation of Americans will learn one of our most important lessons: how to identify to an attacking stranger that your purse is your purse, and that you do not know them.