Groening speaks about new ‘Futurama’

Fox still at impasse with original voice actors

With their contract negotiations as yet unresolved, none of the voice actors appeared at the Comic-Con’s “Futurama” panel. Instead, there was creator Matt Groening, speaking like a recently converted, deeply sarcastic Bhuddist.

“The core of my being is at peace… There are no mistakes,” he said. “I embrace the universe. I send loving thoughts to all living beings, including the ‘Futurama’ cast and Fox executives.

“We love our Futurama actors,” he added. “And we hope that Fox and the actors can come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

Originally airing on Fox in 1999 after “The Simpsons,” the network canceled the sci-fi toon in 2002. However, if “Family Guy” taught us anything, it’s to never discount the underdog. Comedy Central repeats, DVD releases and several direct-to-video features later, “Futurama” has a new lease on life with a 2010 air date on Comedy Central.

However, talks between the 20th Century Fox TV and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille have taken a turn for the worse. New budget restrictions mean a salary cut for the show’s stars. With the cast and studio currently at an impasse, Fox put out a casting call for new voice actors.

At the panel, writers Eric Kaplan and David X. Cohen discussed ideas for future episodes, carefully skirting the issue of the negotiations.

Currently, there are no plans for Fox and the cast to continue talks.

Said Cohen, “Keep your fingers crossed.”

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