Hank Hill has sold his last tank of propane: Fox animation stalwart “King of the Hill” is calling it a day at the end of this season.
Show is wrapping up production after 13 years and nearly 260 episodes.
Complete finality is never certain when it comes to Fox animation. The net actually has canceled “King of the Hill” in the past only to turn around and pick up more episodes later on. And shows like “Family Guy” and “Futurama” have also been revived after cancellation.
But for now, the show’s staff was informed of the network’s decision Thursday not to pick up any more episodes.
“We’ve been here before,” said exec producer John Altschuler. “When i’ts time for ‘King of the Hill’ to go, it will go. But I think with the ratings this good, and with quality that doesn’t seem to be diminishing, it would be very odd for ‘King of the Hill’ not to keep going.”
No series finale had been planned for “King,” but that’s by design, Altschuler said. Had a series finale run when “King” previously halted production, the show might not have come back, he said. And the same is true this time, he added.
Nonetheless, if this really is “King’s” swan song, then Altschuler said he’s at peace with the decision.
“It’s been a great run,” he said.
Viewers will still see original episodes of “King” for some time, however. Because of erratic episodic orders in recent years — as well as fall football-related preemptions — the show’s production cycles don’t coincide with the traditional TV season. Episodes airing right now, for example, are actually from the show’s 12th cycle.
Episodes from the 13th cycle don’t bow until February, which means Fox will still have original episodes left over to use next TV season as well, if needed.
Decision not to renew “King” comes as Fox prepares to launch several new skeins in its “Animation Domination” lineup — including “The Cleveland Show” and “Sit Down, Shut Up.” Fox has been aggressively looking to freshen up its animated stable in recent years.
“King” is the second longest running primetime animated skein in history, behind only “The Simpsons.” And it’s currently the second longest running comedy in primetime — again, behind only “The Simpsons.”
Created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels as a companion piece to “The Simpsons,” the 20th Century Fox TV laffer first bowed on Jan. 12, 1997.
Judge stars as blue-collar Hank Hill, who lives in fictional suburb Arlen, Texas, along with wife Peggy (Kathy Najimy) and son Bobby (Pamela Adlon). Other vocal stars include Brittany Murphy, as Hank’s niece Luanne; Stephen Root, as sad-sack neighbor Bill; Johnny Hardwick, as conspiracy-minded Dale; and Tom Petty, as Luanne’s husband, Lucky. Judge also provides the voice of Boomhauer.
Judge and Daniels are exec producers, along with John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Jim Dauterive, Garland Testa, Howard Klein and Michael Rotenberg.