[Updated: The Hollywood Reporter says the deals for Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille, John DiMaggio and Billy West all closed with 20th TV on Friday. "We are thrilled to have our incredible cast back," Futurama creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen said in a statement. "The call has already gone out to the animators to put the mouths back on the characters."]
Good news, everyone!
Remember that report that Fox had sent out a casting call to replace the voice actors in the newly resurrected Futurama episodes that will air soon on Comedy Central?
Seems it was a bargaining ploy after all.
Futurama star Maurice LaMarche, who voices a number of roles on the show—I counted 126 of them on IMDB.com, including Kif Kroker—confirms that that the original cast will back when the show is resurrected in 2010.
"Officially, my deal is done," LaMarche said Friday in an exclusive interview with SCI FI Wire. "While I can't speak for the rest of the cast, I see no reason not to expect all the others will do the same by day's end."
LaMarche's comments confirm a report in the Toronto Star.
The newspaper reports that the entire voice cast has just signed a new contract with Fox after weeks of intense salary negotiations:
As late as last week, the network was threatening to replace the original voices of Matt Groening's cult-hit cartoon, to the point of actually announcing a casting call for voice actors to replace them.
The compromise agreement, with the studio paying more and the actors accepting less, comes after the announcement of a 26-episode pick-up here by Comedy Central.
"I am extremely grateful to all the fans of Futurama who signed petitions and sent e-mails, both to Fox to profess their dedication to the original cast, and to me, personally, to express their support," LaMarche said. "All the love has been great, and it has meant the world to me. I know how very fortunate I am to have found a career in this profession, and even more fortunate to be working with such incredibly talented people as Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. And I'm hugely grateful to 20th Century Fox TV and Comedy Central to be back working on the funniest and most original animated show in prime time! Futurama am the greetest! And me am returning for a not no good raisin!"
At this past week's Comic-Con in San Diego, the producers of the show said that they were trying to come to an agreement, despite reports that 20th Century Fox Television was considering recasting the voices when the show returns to Comedy Central next year.
In addition to his multitude of roles on Futurama, LaMarche voiced the Brain in Pinky and the Brain and numerous characters on King of the Hill, Johnny Bravo and, of course, The Simpsons.