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Fox has combed “The Boondocks” to find its next major animated project.

Network ordered a pilot presentation last week for a potential series based on the edgy comicstrip by Aaron McGruder.

“The Boondocks” comes from Sony; the studio picked up rights last month to simultaneously develop TV and feature projects based on the strip, now seen in 350 newspapers nationwide (Daily Variety, July 10).

McGruder and partner Reggie Hudlin will write the pilot and exec produce for Sony Pictures TV. The duo hope to deliver a seven-minute presentation for Fox execs by early spring.

The early production is necessary given the long lead time necessary to produce animation. It also means “The Boondocks” team will know whether the show has been picked up prior to next May’s upfront announcements.

Once given a greenlight, “The Boondocks” would likely be ready for launch in the 2004-05 midseason.

Sony Pictures TV programming prexy Russ Krasnoff said Fox was a natural home for “The Boondocks,” given the net’s legacy of irreverent animated skeins such as “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill.”

“The network has a brand, and (Fox Entertainment prexy) Gail Berman talked about their brand and their audience, and how well it matches with the young, somewhat irreverent but also smart voice of ‘The Boondocks,’ ” Krasnoff said.

Krasnoff declined to discuss specifics about the “Boondocks” commitment, only commenting that McGruder and Hudlin felt “very supported” and had “a real feeling that this is a good home.”

“The Boondocks,” which McGruder debuted in April 1999, revolves around junior revolutionary Huey and his gangsta wannabe brother Riley, who move from the inner city to their out-of-touch grandfather’s home in the suburbs.

McGruder and Hudlin continue to hammer out an animated feature treatment of the strip as well.

“Aaron McGruder is one of the most gifted social satirists of this generation,” Berman said. “His talent, coupled with the tremendous skills of Reggie Hudlin, should spark an outstanding presentation. We are very much looking forward to working with them.”

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)