Of the popular Animation Domination block on Fox, four of its current line-up are confirmed to be returning in September after the current season is over, with The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad!, and Bob’s Burgers all assured of their fate for another year at the very least. One, however, has its future hanging in the balance, as Family Guy… spin-off The Cleveland Show is rumored to have been avoided from the list of programmes being renewed.
The rumors, aside from the fact that The Cleveland Show had not yet received confirmation of its return over the past year, have been kick-started by The Animation Guild – Tag Blog, who suggested that during a visit to Fox’s Animation Studios, the department for the 2009-debuted show was all but empty, with the remaining 6 episodes of its 4th season already prepared in advance, and thus no need for staff to be present unless there was a new batch of episodes to work on.
While the fact that there were few office staff would not be considered definitive when The Cleveland Show‘s company is considered (unlike Comedy Central series South Park, episodes of Animation Domination shows are planned and created months in advance rather than a week prior to air), the lack of a renewal notice will not bode well for the spin-off, which could end on 88 episodes if its current future state is not changed.
However, Fox has strongly emphasized that they have not cancelled The Cleveland Show, and that even if they haven’t renewed for next year, it does not spell the end for the comedy, as they stated to The Futon Critic that they: “…[have] not ordered any additional episodes of The Cleveland Show at this time.”
The stance seemingly points towards gauging audience demand and perhaps offering a comeback following hiatus (as previously seen with Fox shows Family Guy and King of the Hill), and while a final decision on its current position is not expected to occur until the Fox network upfront presentation on 13 May, they will hope that the news at least helps get the show’s upcoming run of episodes a higher level of interest than the all-time low 2.5m viewers for the most recent episode “The Fist and the Furious”.
Though it is only based on rumor, could the possible end of The Cleveland Show, along with South Park‘s recent season length reduction, signal a slight decline in the animated comedy industry? While his self-titled show might soon disappear, the character of ‘Cleveland Brown’ probably wouldn’t be too far away for Family Guy producers to bring back, they could even alter the lyrics of his theme song if required: