The return of Futurama?

Scott Keith has a blog entry about a rumoured return to television of Futurama. In response to Family Guy being resurrected thanks to excellent DVD sales, FOX execs looked at Futurama's DVD success and are now rumoured to be considering re-activating it.

While Keith's readers (which include my brother) were all either excited about it or too busy trashing ECW/King of the Hill/The War At Home/Simpsons, I noticed that nobody looked at Amazon.com's hourly-updated top selling items doesn't feature Futurama on the top 25. Family Guy Volume 3 is on there, perhaps re-justifying its return to television.

But Keith's readers and apparently FOX executives never paid close attention to the top of the list. If they had, they would find another FOX-cancelled series selling extremely well on DVD (for a long time, it was #1). Not only that, the movie based on the series is selling currently at #3, one spot ahead of its television sibling. That cancelled series is of course Firefly starring Edmonton native Nathon Fillion. The TV series (which I haven't seen) is therefore at least as popular as Futurama despite having a quarter the number of episodes. The movie (which I own) didn't do particularly well in theatres but is clearly extremely popular on DVD.

So its time for FOX to figure it out: do DVD sales mean a return to broadcast, or will they have to figure out that DVD-TV sales and broadcast airing are likely very different audiences. Curb Your Enthusiasm is very popular on DVD, for example, and less so on cable in the US. South Park's ratings have fallen considerably on television, but the DVDs are cult favourites (despite Parker and Stone refusing to talk for more than 3 minutes on any episode commentary: what's with that??).

I understand one thing likely keeping Firefly off of TV screens in the future: studio rivalry. Universal's press release of Serenity's release ignores the existence of a TV series entirely, and while FOX could theoretically do the same, it would be hard to leave out the results of the film, meaning apprehension about promoting a Universal theatrical release. No other network (including Sci-Fi Channel) would have much luck airing the series -- Buffy's final two seasons likely taught Whedon what you're forced to do when your new network doesn't want to promote the old network.

Its a shame, really, I suppose. Of course, I can hardly say: never even watched Firefly yet.