Complete List of Dragon*Con Voice Actor Events


I’ve been asked by several individuals attending Dragon*Con if I would list all of the voice actor panels I’m involved with along with other related panels of note. As you will see below, there are so many related events that this was a rather daunting task. I hope my efforts will be useful as a guide to those attending the con.

Please note that the schedule and guests listed below are subject to change. Check The Daily Dragon regularly for up-to-the-minute schedule and guest updates.

Locations for each panel/event are not listed due to the possibility of changes. For those attending Dragon*Con please check your Pocket Program Guide, and every morning when you arrive at the con be sure to pick up a copy of The Daily Dragon from the local D*Con Info booth which contains all updates and changes.


– 10:00 AM – Snydecast & FRED Entertainment
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 11:30 AM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Squidbillies Panel
Featuring live script reads with a full cast: Jim Fortier, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Daniel Baker (Unknown Hinson), Daniel McDevitt, Dana Snyder, Bobby Ellerbee, Mary Kraft, and Scott Hilley. Autograph session to follow.

– 1:00 PM – Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Rifftrax)

– 2:30 PM – Trace Beaulieu (MST3K, Cinematic Titanic)

– 2:30 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Clone Wars cast members Ashley Eckstein, Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

– 2:30 PM – Voice Acting for Podcasters
Panel description: “Learn the finer points of voice acting and voice overs to enhance your podcast.” [No industry guests listed for this event.]

– 4:00 PM – Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
Featuring MST3K’s Trace Beaulieu

– 4:00 PM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, and John DiMaggio. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

– 5:30 PM – The Animation Fan Fun Panel
Hosted by yours truly, Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, with special industry guests (TBA). Light on commentary and packed with voice actor improv, a wild Old Time Radio script read, and trivia contest with prizes. Sponsored by and Voice Actors in the News.

– 5:30 PM – Akira: The Great Dub Debate – Streamline or Pioneer?
Fan panel discussing the two dubs of the classic anime film.

– 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live performance by local audio drama troupe.

– 7:00 PM – [adult swim] Comedy
Fan panel with industry guests TBA.

– 8:30 PM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fan Panel
Industry guests also possible for this panel.

– 8:30 PM – MST3K and Cinematic Titanic
Historic live performance featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein. [This is nearly a 6-hour event.]

– 1:30 AM – WEEP
Live concert featuring Venture Bros‘ Doc Hammer on lead vocals and guitar.


– 11:30 AM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

– 11:30 AM – MST3K
Panel presentation featuring Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein.

– 1:00 PM – Venture Bros. Guests
Featuring Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. Autograph session to follow.

– 1:00 PM – FUNimation Entertainment Industry Panel and Q&A
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 1:00 PM – Star Wars Costume Contest
Emceed by Ashley Eckstein.

– 4:00 PM – Bizarro Saturday Morning
Adult Swim voice actor/animator/artist C. Martin Croker hosts this vintage film showcase. Here’s Clay’s description of the show:
“Bizarro Saturday Morning” is a film series (all 16mm from my own collection) that I’ve shown around the South – but primarily at [Atlanta’s] Historic Plaza Theater – of vintage, rarely seen and usually offbeat cartoons from the 1930s through the 1980s intercut with vintage Toy and TV spots mostly from the 1960s and 70s.”

– 4:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

– 8:30 PM – Quantum Quest
Animated feature film screening with guest Tom Kenny.

– 8:30 PM – FUNimation presents: Anime’s Greatest Hits – The Best Scenes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 10:00 PM – Nuts on the Road: The Quiz Show
Improvised game show with contestants Dana Snyder, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Adam Savage, J. Weinstein and Kevin Murphy.


– 10:00 AM – Tom Servo vs Tom Servo
MST3K event featuring Kevin Murphy vs J. Elvis Weinstein.

– 11:30 AM – Squidbillies Fan Panel
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 11:30 AM – Gargoyles: The Animated Series
Featuring cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis.

– 1:00 PM – Stories with Uncle George
George Lowe’s popular one-man panel show.

– 1:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Daniel Logan and Ashley Eckstein.

– 2:30 PM – Voice Acting Workshop
Featuring voice-over professional September Day and anime/video game voice actor Bob Carter.
Panel description: “Ever wanted to break into the voice over industry but just didn’t know where to start? Don’t have thousands to spend flying out to Los Angeles or New York for weekend-long workshops? How about coming to a workshop to learn what it REALLY takes to get started in this awesome industry right here in Atlanta? You don’t need a ton of money to launch your voice over career!”

– 2:30 PM – MST3K: Meet the Mads
Panel featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, J. Weinstein, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy.

– 4:00 PM – Futurama Cast Panel
Featuring Billy West, John DiMaggio and Phil LaMarr. (Maurice LaMarche unfortunately had to cancel his appearance at the convention.)

– 4:00 PM – Master Shake Tells it Like it Is
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 5:30 – FUNimation Anime Sneak Peaks and Prizes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

– 5:30 – Meet Chad Vader!
Featuring the star of popular YouTube adventures of Darth Vader’s less fortunate brother, Chad Vader, who has also voiced Vader for LucasArts video games.

– 5:30 PM – Rifftrax Live…sort of
Featuring Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.

– 7:00 PM – What’s on Dana Snyder’s iPod
Featuring Dana Snyder.

– 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live peformance.

– 8:30 PM – David Bowie: Loving the Alien
Featuring Doc Hammer.


– 10:00 AM – Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Ashley Eckstein.

Other celebrity guests will be in attendance who have voiced characters for animated productions. Please check the Pocket Program Guide for the panels and autograph sessions they are participating in.

Thanks to all the following sites for providing detailed schedules for Dragon*Con:

Anime-Manga Track (by Jake)

Animation Track (by Jess)

Star Wars Track


Venture Bros Blog

[adult swim] Central (by John)

[adult swim] Official

Futurama Cast @ Atlanta’s Dragon*Con 2010


Four Three principal Futurama cast members will be attending Dragon*Con in Atlanta, GA September 3-6, 2010.

Billy West, John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, and Maurice LaMarche are all scheduled to appear at the con and will be participating in panels hosted by Dragon*Con’s Animation Track.

Billy West and John DiMaggio will be participating in Voice Actors panels (along with Adult Swim voice actors Dana Snyder, C. Martin Croker and George Lowe) on Friday at 4:00 PM in the Hyatt International North Ballroom, and Saturday at 11:30 AM in the Hyatt International South Ballroom.

West, DiMaggio and LaMarr will be featured together in an all-Futurama cast panel on Sunday at 4:00 PM in the Hyatt Cent. I Ballroom.

And according to the Star Wars Track schedule, Phil LaMarr will also be participating in three Star Wars panels. However, the actual Dragon*Con program schedule shows that he will only be involved in the “Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons” panel on Monday at 10:00 AM.

We will have a follow-up post to include all of Dragon*Con’s voice actor-related guests, panels and events, and one of our staff will also be attending the con and will provide coverage with audio, video and photos.

Update: 9.02.2010 — Unfortunately, Maurice LaMarche had to cancel his appearance at Dragon*Con:

Moe sends his apologies to all the fans, and hopes he will be able to attend in 2011.

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News

Futurama Cast News Round-Up


Some tidbits on the upcoming sixth season of Futurama collected from around the web:

Previously reported here, but certainly worthy of mentioning first is that Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder won an Annie Award for “Best Home Entertainment Production.” Scroll down through my report and you’ll find a video which includes a very brief moment of footage showing the Futurama cast and crew receiving the award, with a shout-out from Bender (John DiMaggio).

– Via (aka Futurama Point): The Kevin Pollack Chat Show interviews Billy West and John DiMaggio — fast-forward through Pollack’s opening commentary to the 17:45 mark to see the interview which is both long and wonderful:

– Season 6 3-minute preview from the October 2009 Florida Animation Supercon:

(with better video)

(with better audio)

– Also from the Florida Animation Supercon: John DiMaggio interviewed by (in two parts):

Honestly, you could waste away an hour or so watching all the panel footage and interviews that plughitzlive shot at the con, and most of it is full of Futurama goodness. Watch it all here:

– On September 2nd, 2009, Maurice LaMarche revealed via a very brief video on Facebook that late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson will guest star in the upcoming season.

On January 8th, Moe announced that the cast was doing a table read for the landmark 100th episode of the series. Fellow cast members mentioned: Billy West, John DiMaggio, Katey Sagal, Tress MacNeille, Phil LaMarr, Dave Herman and Lauren Tom.

On a related note, has a “teaser” from David X. Cohen on what the 100th episode and Holiday-themed episodes will include:

Episode 100 which was recorded the other day may serve as a mini-season finale depending on Comedy Central of course. Also, episode 101 is an Anthology of Interest-style episode with 3 stories based on Xmas, Robanukah, and Kwanzaa.

– Via Phil Hendrie, voice of various members of the Waterfall family on Futurama (as well as Tom Landry and Little John on King of the Hill), will be the keynote speaker at the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Luncheon on April 13 in Las Vegas.

– Via

Billy West, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Phil LaMarr will be making an appearance at the Wizard World Comic Con in Anaheim, CA.

The convention runs from April 16th to April 18th and includes appearances from lots of stars including several Star Trek actors who also guested on Futurama. posted an interview with Katey Sagal in mid-January discussing details on what to expect in the upcoming season. “It is so funny,” Sagal said. “I can’t wait for people to see it. I’ve always thought the writing is amazing, but this year it’s hysterically funny.” The article also mentions that 12 of the 26 planned episodes have been recorded as of that posting.

– has an interview with Phil LaMarr discussing Futurama which I covered in a separate post (which also includes a video of LaMarr at the Animation Supercon discussing Futurama).

And since what LaMarr says specifically pertains to this report, I’ll repeat it here:

“[T]he new episodes, in my opinion, are the best yet,” says LaMarr. “They’re really, really funny. Some of them are really, really thoughtful as well. The guys have come back to the show with renewed energy. The writers and producers. And they’re happy to be back, and know the world and the characters so well that they’re able to…it feels like they’re better at it. They’re able to do more with it than they were before.”

– Spike TV/Comedy Central press rep Melissa Sugiura tweeted Feb. 9th: “Heading to the set of #futurama. Looking forward to checking out my first voice recording session!”

…and afterwards posted a a couple follow-ups:

@kitchelfilms great meeting you today, so great to see it all in action. congrats on a very funny episode!

@gotfuturama @slurmed i had an awesome time! i can’t wait to see it all put together when we air it!”

– Thanks to Twitter-er @kitchelfilms (one of the Futurama writers, whose identity I don’t know at the moment), we have photos of the cast in-studio recording the episode “The Silence of the Clamps.”:

Phil LaMarr and Maurice LaMarche
John DiMaggio
Lauren Tom and Tress MacNeille
Katey Sagal
LaMarche and DiMaggio
David X. Cohen directing the cast
DiMaggio and Billy West

Finally, according to “kitchelfilms” (in response to my previous report that Futurama was “currently casting”), unfortunately Futurama “isn’t casting voice actors.”

To stay informed of future developments on Futurama’s sixth season, please visit (The Futurama Wiki).

Additional Sources: Except where noted, most of the above news items are courtesy of the fans on the Futurama forum — The Planet Express Employee Lounge. Nice work keeping fans updated, PEEL members!

Related post: 7.17.2010 — Futurama Cast Full Coverage

‘Epic’ Voice Actors Photo Feature on

08.28.2009 has a photo feature on the individuals they have determined to be “Epic” voice actors.

The 17 names who made their list:

Mel Blanc: most of the iconic Looney Tunes characters.
Dan Castellaneta: The Simpsons, Earthworm Jim.
Alan Reed: voice of Fred Flintstone.
Seth MacFarlane: creator/producer/writer/voice actor on Family Guy, American Dad!, The Cleveland Show.
Frank Oz: voice of Jedi Master Yoda, Sesame Street characters Grover and Bert.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker: creators of South Park.
Tom Kenny: voice of SpongeBob SquarePants
Billy West: Futurama, Ren & Stimpy
Hank Azaria: The Simpsons
Nancy Cartright: The Simpsons
Russi Taylor and the late Wayne Allwine: respective voices of Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
Tony Anselmo: voice of Donald Duck
Harry Shearer: The Simpsons
Jorge Arvizu: considered to be the Hispanic equivalent of Mel Blanc.
Mark Hamill: voice of The Joker.

I had reservations about linking to this because the nitpicker in me believes this list has been mislabeled as “epic” when “iconic” would be more fitting. Also, some major talents have been omitted — no Frank Welker, Daws Butler, June Foray, Jim Cummings, or plenty of others I could mention — all very worthy of the title of “epic” when it comes to voice acting talent.

And there there are some like Parker and Stone who just don’t feel at all like they belong on such a list. They may have created iconic characters and a cult hit show, but they are so not “epic” in terms of voice talent. One reason I stopped watching the show is that they do their own voices as celebrity impressions for every stinking celebrity they spoof… and they all sound the same. It may be one of the show’s running gags, but it just grates on my ears. I’ll grant that some of their character voices like Cartman, Mr. Garrison, Butters, and Kenny are amusing, but I just don’t believe they qualify as “epic.”

Furthermore, in the photo profiles there’s a typo on Tweety’s name (“Tweet Bird”) and Mark Hamill’s last name is misspelled as “Hammill.” (That qualifies as “epic” FAIL in my book.)

And I would like to have seen more females mentioned other than just Nancy Cartright. It blows my mind that Life would neglect to include “The First Lady of Cartoon Voice Acting,” June Foray. And there are other females who would have been welcome additions to such a list: Mae Questel (Olive Oyl, Betty Boop), Janet Waldo (The Jetsons, Penelope Pitstop), Tress MacNeille (Animaniacs, Futurama), and Mary Kay Bergman (South Park, Captain Planet, Scooby Doo movie series). (And that’s just to name a few).

Now, with that off my chest, I will say that it’s nice to see the majority of these individuals featured by a publication as renowned as Life Magazine. (And photos of voice actors are always welcome.) Frankly, Mark Hamill still gets unfair media criticisms for being a so-called “has-been since Star Wars” so any time he’s recognized in the media for his incredible voice acting is okay by me (although you’d think they would’ve tried spelling his name correctly). And as far as I’m concerned, Tony Anselmo, Russi Taylor, and the late Wayne Allwine will never receive enough recognition for their work.

Finally, I was rather surprised and pleased to see Jorge Arvizu included, someone I’d been planning to feature here in the future. He really is a great character voice actor who needs to be introduced to a wider U.S. audience. Here’s a clip of him performing some of his characters in a promo for Súper Agente 86 (the Spanish version of Get Smart):

[Link credit: Voice Chasers]

An Open Letter to ‘Variety’ and ‘The Hollywood Reporter’


Dear “Variety” and “The Hollywood Reporter” and Their Respective Reporters Michael Schneider and Nellie Andreeva,

First of all, I would like to thank you both for your coverage of the “Futurama” recasting. Both publications were among the first on the Internet to break the news to the public.

I also appreciate your follow-up coverage on Friday, July 31st, when it was announced and confirmed that all five of the show’s principal cast members had closed deals with 20th Century Fox.

However, both of your original articles (first published July 17, 2009) contained assumptions, inaccuracies and exaggerations of the salaries the “Futurama” voice cast members were actually requesting. This projected an unfair and negative image on the “Futurama” actors.

Furthermore, both publications (Variety and The Hollywood Reporter) have since edited the original articles to downplay prior misstatements, without offering any printed retraction for the reporters’ errors.

The original version of Variety reporter Michael Schneider’s article (first published Friday, July 17, 2009, 12:34 pm PT — Link: ‘Futurama’ without original voices?) read thusly:

It’s believed that the “Futurama” cast members were asking for around $75,000 per episode; it was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned.

The statement was afterwards edited to read:

“…salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking — believed to be around $75,000 per episode. (It was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned.)” [Emphasis mine.]

This statement was publicly proven false by a statement made by a “Futurama” cast member, and also confirmed as being untrue by sources close to the cast as well.

Within the same hour Variety‘s article was published, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Nellie Andreeva originally made the following statement in her article (first published Friday, July 17, 2009, 3:11 pm ET — Link: ‘Futurama’ cast in limbo):

20th declined further comment but sources indicated that the voice actors had been seeking at least a tenfold increase of what they made when the animated series ran on Fox from 1999-2003. [Emphasis mine.]

And as was the case with Variety, THR‘s article was also edited after it was published. It currently reads:

The cast of “Futurama,” which ran on Fox from 1999-2002, are said to have been offered modest pay increases but have insisted for bumps of several times what they used to make. [Emphasis mine.]

THR‘s follow-up article (published Friday, July 31, 2009, 6:40 pm ET — Link: Back to Futurama: Voice cast closes deal), also written by reporter Nellie Andreeva, includes the following statement:

Financial terms of the agreements were not released but it is understood that both sides have made compromises to bridge the initial salary gap, in which the actors were said to have asked for several times what the studio was offering. [Emphasis mine.]

Andreeva went from saying a “tenfold increase” to “several times,” which appears as an attempt to remove blame for her earlier misstatement.

In the most recent article from Variety (published Friday, July 31, 2009, 3:26 pm PT — Link: ‘Futurama’ cast returning for reboot), also reported by Michael Schneider, the assumption made in the previous article has been downplayed, but does at least correct the prior error:

It was believed that the “Futurama” cast were asking for around $75,000 per episode, although the actors have said their request was actually much lower than that. It was not clear what 20th was offering.

And while Schneider did state in his original article that “calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned,” that does not excuse his misrepresentation of the cast by publishing an unconfirmed and exaggerated amount.

Now, if the figures of “$75,000 per episode” and a “tenfold increase” were what both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter were told by 20th Century Fox representatives, that makes this an entirely different matter. If that’s the case, 20th Century Fox should have been cited as the source, rather than reporting it vaguely that it was “believed” or “was said” to be what the cast was asking for. That would’ve removed both publications from fault.

But the fact remains that both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are responsible for publishing statements which have since been proven to be false, inaccurate and unfair assumptions. Furthermore, both reporters have attempted to gloss over the aforementioned errors by covertly having the articles edited.

And most importantly, both publications misrepresented the cast and portrayed a very negative image of them to the public by implying that the actors were asking far and above what the studio was offering, when in reality that was simply not true. It’s also obvious from the feedback comments on both and that the statements made regarding the salaries were indeed misleading to the public.

Both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter owe their readers — as well as “Futurama” fans and the cast of “Futurama” — a public retraction for the published errors, rather than trying to quietly augment previous statements.

It was unfair and unnecessary to misrepresent the cast in such a way, and unprofessional to change your prior articles without issuing a retraction.

I would like to request that both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter issue a public retraction for inaccurate and misleading statements about the cast. And while it would likely be ignored to request a public apology to the cast for making them look bad, I feel it’s a fair request that would be most appreciated.


Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Now to address my fellow Futurama fans.

I have already contacted some individuals concerning this open letter campaign, which according to replies I have received should be seeing some fan forum buzz within the next 24 hours.

Any fans reading this are more than welcome to join in this campaign and have my permission in advance to use my letter as a template for the cited sources. But if you decide to contact Variety and The Hollywood Reporter directly I must insist that you please not copy/paste my entire letter verbatim. Please use your own thoughts and opinions, not mine.

You can send feedback to both publications via the contact pages on and

Previous report: 7.17.2009 — Futurama Recasting Full Coverage — It’s Over! Futurama Cast FTW!

[This article was edited/updated on 8.05.2009 in order to protect my sources.]

Updated: Futurama Cast Full Coverage — DVD Box Set, and “The Letter”


If for some reason you haven’t yet read about the Futurama recasting (situation now resolved, thankfully), my original article follows these important updates.

Update: 8.28.2009Movieweb reported 8.26 that “Futurama: The Complete Collection” will release to stores nationwide on October 13th with a suggested retail price of $169.98.

Additionally, has the official press release with the complete details on this 19-disc box set limited to 25,000 copies.

The press release contradicts Movieweb’s report on the SRP — it states that it will be $199.98 for both the U.S. and Canada which seems like it might be an error. (Since Canadians unfortunately always end up paying more for stuff.) I’ve contacted TVShowsonDVD to get the SRP verified.

This box set is slam-packed with bonus content which also features the voice cast by way of episode commentaries, deleted scenes, video featurettes, and blooper reels. I was also very pleased to see the news that “a limited number of empty ‘Bender Heads’ will also be available for purchase.”

Update: 8.24.2009 — I got a really good laugh out of the message I received from in response to the e-mail I sent in July voicing my concerns over the Futurama recasting.

The following e-mail was dated Monday, August 24th, 2009, 7:43 PM:

Dear Futurama Fan,

Thank you for voicing your strong support for Futurama and the original voice cast. We appreciate the time you took to fire off a thoughtful and/or concerned and/or homicidal e-mail message to our casting director, Scott Muller. (Rest assured, not a single one of these e-mails reached the actual decision-makers at 20th Century Fox Television. For future reference, please note that Scott Muller is in fact one of Futurama’s biggest fans, and was instrumental in bringing about the return of the cast. Please hoist a bottle of Olde Fortran for Scott!)

Speaking of the cast returning… good news, everyone! The cast is returning! All of our series regulars are back in action for Season 6. Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Tress MacNeille,
Lauren Tom, Phil LaMarr, and David Herman are all on board and have already begun delivering their customary virtuoso performances. The all-new Futurama episodes are slated to air on Comedy Central beginning in June, 2010.

We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of support for the series. Your loyalty over the years has kept the show going through its original four seasons on FOX, its subsequent reincarnations on Adult Swim and DVD, and now its Bendiferous return to life on Comedy Central. See you in the (near) future!


David X. Cohen & Matt Groening

Update: 8.08.2009, 6:00 AM (ET)Katey Sagal (voice of Leela) talks with about the “contentious negotiations between 20th Century Fox and the voice cast”:

Her reaction? Slightly perturbed, but not surprised, given her industry experience. “Well, it’s what always happens. We’re starting our sixth season, and the actors felt that it was deserving of a sixth-season salary. And we weren’t being offered that. We were united in our search for… we wanted what’s fair, that’s all.”

When 20th put out a casting notice looking for replacement voices, Sagal said, “I wasn’t surprised. It’s business.”

Did she think there was any chance they would replace the cast? “Well… first of all, I think it would be very hard to find five people to replace us. I think that it would have been a very different show. The fanbase for Futurama is so fiercely loyal; that’s why we’re back, because of the fanbase. And I think they were upset, really upset that the voices would be different.

Elsewhere, in a brief interview with Katey stated that recording for the first episode of Season 6 will begin next week.

Update: 8.07.2009, 12:15 PM (ET)Futurama cast member Maurice LaMarche says by way of his Facebook page that he has a cast table read today (Friday, August 7th) for the first of the 26 new episodes of the series which were announced in June. Moe emphasizes that the cast is “really” back, which I take to mean that the negotiations with the supporting cast have successfully settled.

12:25 PM (ET) — Now have another source confirming that the supporting cast now has a deal, but I cannot offer further comment. However, I can say *now* that it’s finally, officially over.

Update: 8.06.2009, 4:00 PM (ET) — Still no word on the progress of the negotiations of the supporting cast (which I personally take as a good sign).

However, I do have an update on status of the series’ future which had fans scratching their heads when IGN relayed the news (below) that “[the] deal 20th Century Fox made with Comedy Central allows for a broadcast network to first air the new episodes, should a separate deal be made.” has a report from Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly at the TCA Summer Press Tour, who stated that FOX is considering bringing Futurama back to the network if it’s successful on Comedy Central:

“It’s going to do its run on Comedy Central first,” says Reilly. “They really saw continued commercial business on that and fan interest and that’s what led to that order. It’s a good show, we like the show. It’s not out of the question [to pick it up on Fox], but we have not committed to picking up that option yet.”

And although I’ve already covered the SDCC Futurama panel thoroughly below, I wanted to give a heads up on the August 2nd article at Comic Book Resources which has a very accurate transcription of the entire panel presentation.

Thanks to “Svip” of for posting this news to PEEL: The Futurama Message Board.

Update: 8.05.2009, 3:45 AM (ET) [originally posted: 8.04.2009, 5:00 AM (ET)] — Rumors have been circulating around the web that the supporting cast of Futurama has now entered negotiations with 20th Century Fox. These secondary negotiations may or may not include the following individuals: Lauren Tom (Amy Wong), Phil LaMarr (Hermes Conrad), David Herman (Scruffy, Dr. Ogden Wernstrom, Roberto), and Frank Welker (Nibler).

I can only confirm that said negotiations are indeed taking place. However, I cannot confirm how many of the above individuals are involved. My sources unfortunately cannot comment at this time.

I’ll have more details on this once they become available.

In the meantime, has an update on the status of the future of the series:

The move to cable has meant Futurama is being done on a much tighter budget than in its original network run, including a reduced writing staff and shorter production time for episodes. Variety says that it was believed that the voice cast were asking around $75,000 an episode to return (though they note at least one of the actors dispute this), but ended up lowering their request to $40,000. Variety says the final number settled upon was lower than that, but above the original offer from Futurama production company 20th Century Fox.

The deal 20th Century Fox made with Comedy Central allows for a broadcast network to first air the new episodes, should a separate deal be made. The natural place for that to occur would be the FOX network, both because of their corporate connection to 20th and because they were where Futurama first aired – but as of now, no deal has been made with any network for the show. However, Variety notes that with a year still until Futurama is set to air on Comedy Central, a deal could still happen.

Additionally, “Svip” of has an update on what I reported earlier that some of the show’s writers would not be returning due to budget cuts. Svip confirms that writers Ken Keeler, Eric Kaplan, David X. Cohen, and Patric M. Verrone are currently confirmed as returning, “among others.”

Update: 7.31.2009, 11:55 PM (ET) — It’s officially over.

Published around 10:00 PM (ET) via

We just got this word from 20th Century Fox: “Just wanted you to know that we now have deals with the entire Futurama voice cast to return: John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille and Katey Sagal.”

Futurama creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen released this statement: “We are thrilled to have our incredible cast back. The call has already gone out to the animators to put the mouths back on the characters.”

Furthermore, The Hollywood Reporter reports (redundant, I know) that the series is “set to come back with new episodes on Comedy Central in mid-2010.”

BenderNow fans can celebrate.

(Oh, yeah… and the cast too.)

Congrats to the cast on closing the deal, and thanks to 20th Century Fox/Comedy Central for not hiring imitators. Also, thanks to Futurama fans worldwide who posted, e-mailed, statused, linked, forwarded, blogged, vlogged, tweeted and retweeted about this in support of the cast. I got over 14,000 hits on my blog since I first began coverage of this on July 17th. If I were wearing a hat, it would be off to you all, my fellow Futurama fans.

And now that this is over with, I’d like to redirect your attention to an unresolved issue.

[Update: 8.05.2009, 1:40 AM (ET) — The commentary originally posted here on 7.31.2009 has been removed in favor of my “open letter” campaign to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.]

Update: 7:31.2009, 9:20 PM — Well, it appears the celebration may have been a wee bit premature. So there’s some good news, some promising news, and unfortunately some bad news.

Variety published an article at 3:26 (PT) Friday which states:

Three of the five “Futurama” cast members – Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille – have just sealed pacts with 20th Century Fox TV to return to the show as it reboots with 26 new episodes for Comedy Central. The show’s other two voice stars, Billy West and John DiMaggio, are expected to follow suit shortly.

Both the actors and 20th are believed to have found a compromise.

So the good news is that we have official confirmation that Moe, Katey and Tress are locked in for 26 more episodes. The “promising news” is that other sources, such as IGN and HitFix are both reporting that Billy and John “are close” to signing, with IGN stating that they contacted 20th directly and were told that “deals with the rest of the cast are imminent and will hopefully be finalized by the end of the day.”

And the bad news is what has already been previously reported that 20th and Comedy Central were “kicking around ways to make ‘Futurama,’ originally produced for a broadcast network (Fox), make financial sense for a cable run.”

Renegotiating contracts with the cast was the first part of the budget cuts. And Variety adds, “Other costs that were slashed in the process led to a smaller writing staff and a shorter delivery schedule.”

So, the downside to all this is that the show has lost some writers, which is unfortunate because the writing has overall been solid.

(Special thanks to “Svip” of the Futurama Wiki — The Infosphere — for the heads-up on the Variety article, and for doing such an excellent job chronicling the events that have taken place during this ordeal.)

Update: 7.31.2009, 4:50 PM (EST) — Good news, Everyone! Seriously! From Maurice LaMarche‘s Facebook status at 4:37 PM (EST):

Mauirce LaMarche…had a productive afternoon… he finally cleaned up his backyard – threw away all the sun-scarred cracked pool toys, peeling boogie boards, an old broom, deflated faded basketball, and, oh yeah, closed his Futurama deal. [Emphasis mine.]

A fan (Phoenix West) responded to this asking, “Hopefully the use of ‘closed’ here means you signed a new deal instead of finishing an old one.”

To which Moe replied, “It does, Phoenix. It does.”

Additionally, Facebook group Save the Voices of Futurama founder Dave LaFaive sent the following notice with a statement from Moe:

“Thank you for all you have done, my friend! I have to believe all the fan support, from all the petitions, polls, and your Save the Voices of Futurama page made a huge difference. Feel free to announce away! We’re back Baby! With the Original Voice Cast!!


NOW…we can truly look forward to the new season!!

Thank you to everyone who sent emails and participated in the group.

If you would like to do one more thing, send one more email thanking 20th Century for hearing our voices and Saving the Voices of Futurama.

Let the celebration begin!


News of this first broke Friday, July 31st at 3:26 PM via The Toronto Star. [Although it was afterwards discovered that the announcement was slightly premature since only three of the five cast members had signed on at the time of printing.]

There is one item I’d like to point out in The Toronto Star article:

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. [Emphasis mine.]

Once again, this refutes earlier statements by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter that the cast were making excessive salary demands.

And if anyone is wondering why in the world wide web did a Canadian news media source get the scoop on the Futurama cast signing new contracts — Toronto is Maurice LaMarche’s birthplace. Moe says, “Toronto Star Entertainment Editor Rob Salem and I are old BFFs from high school days. He [was] in L.A. for the TV Critics Association junket, where all the new and returning shows are promoted, and we needed to make lunch plans anyway, so I thought I’d lay the ‘exclusive’ on my old pal. I love that my hometown paper, and my buddy, got the scoop!”

And my apologies for not getting the Comic-Con photos posted yet. It’s a WordPress issue, unfortunately. I can’t do images in a gallery apparently without it looking sucky, so I’m looking into some hosting options.

7.30.2009, 8:00 PMBilly West posts to his forum in reply to a fan’s praise for his work:

How can I leave this one alone???
Seriously though,I’m so fortunate to be thought of in this way.
I worked long and hard (what am I? A porno star?)
in my journey and I was also very lucky as well.
I SO know that you guys are super supportive and always have been.
I appreciate it more than you know.

I wanna go back to work and give a thousand percent of my passion and
love of the voice acting craft just like I always have!
I love the show–so let’s hope for the best.

Thank you,


Update: 7.26.2009, 2:40 has published full coverage and commentary of the SDCC Futurama panel.

Additionally, I’m reposting an earlier request I made to any fans who attended either the Futurama panel and/or the voice cast autograph session at SDCC: if you took any photos from either event that include members of the voice cast, I’d be more than appreciative of yout sharing them here with your fellow Futurama fans who weren’t able to attend the con. Please e-mail me at (just remove the “NOSPAM”), and make sure you let me know how you’d like to be credited for the photo. In return, I’ll even include a plug for a site you own or are affiliated with.

Update: 7.26.2009, 2:05 posts their full Futurama panel report — this one offering more show/movie details that I haven’t yet reported here:

Other news items stemmed from the question: Where will the next season of Futurama begin? After the revelations at the end of the last movie “Into the Wild Green Yonder” (driving the Planet Express ship into a wormhole as Fry and Leela finally profess their love for one another), Matt Groening mentioned that he wanted to ignore the happenings and just continue back on Earth like a traditional sitcom, while David X. Cohen wisely convinced everybody to resolve the conflicts… however brief the resolution may be. From the minor spoilers that they were giving out, we are expecting Fry and Leela to be dating, which should be interesting for all fans of the series.

On the movie front, Groening and the rest of the panel mentioned that they are willing and ready to do a feature length Futurama movie, but the studio needs to work it out first. And in response to quality of the straight to DVD movies, Cohen and Groening stated that nothing changed with who was writing the episodes, it was just that they had to pace the special to have a feature format that would work when chopped up into episodes. While they won’t say whether the movies were better or worse than the TV episodes, they put it up to the audience to decide.

Update: 7.26.2009, 4:00 AM – According to an article Variety published Saturday at 2:18 PM (just after the Futurama panel presentation at Comic-Con):

[Talks] between the 20th Century Fox TV and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille have taken a turn for the worse. New budget restrictions mean a salary cut for the show’s stars. With the cast and studio currently at an impasse, Fox put out a casting call for new voice actors.

At the panel, writers Eric Kaplan and David X. Cohen discussed ideas for future episodes, carefully skirting the issue of the negotiations.

Currently, there are no plans for Fox and the cast to continue talks.

Said Cohen, “Keep your fingers crossed.”

I’d like to interject here that Variety was also the first source to report the misinformation that the actors were asking $75,000 per episode, which has since been proven to be untrue by at least one Futurama cast member as well as other sources close to the actors.

That being said, my journalistic instincts tell me that the “no plans” comment is not an objective statement, and this was an opinion formed from comments made by the panelists. Note that the above statement is not in quotes, likely meaning that Variety did not conduct an in-person interview with any of the guest panelists to get an official statement.

Update: 7.26.2009, 3:00 blogger Andy Hunsaker has a full report of the Futurama panel at Comic-Con. Highlights follow:

– “They opened with the classic Hypno-Toad, assuring us that ‘Everything is going smoothly at Futurama. You will not notice that the cast is not here. You will assume they are on vacation in Barbados! All glory to the Hypno-Toad!’ Funny.”

– Beginning: “Groening says no beating around the bush. They all love their Futurama actors and hope Fox and the actors can come to an agreement as soon as possible. Now they commence with amusing quotes from writer’s rooms past. Fun, but it seems as though they’ve scrambled for some way to fill the time.”

– “When they open the floor for questions, they hope they’re not on ‘a certain subject,’ and even offer prizes for what they judge to be good questions.

– The writers maintain continuity by consulting Futurama fan sites and forums: “Futurama writers are nerds who trust the nerd fans.”

– “‘The wormhole’ will be addressed for continuity, and David X. Cohen says they’re going to be ‘rebirthing’ of the series ‘quite literally.’ So be warned.”

– There are “no plans” for a theatrical Futurama movie.

– Upcoming celebrity guest voices have been “written in” but nothing’s recorded yet so they cannot divulge any details.

Update: 7.25.2009, 5:30‘s Eric Goldman talks with John DiMaggio at Comic-Con about the recasting:

When I asked him what he could say about the situation, DiMaggio first broke into song, singing some famous Elvis Presley lyrics: “Caught in a trap. I can’t walk out! Cause I love you too much, baby!” He then smiled and told me, “In other words, no comment. I really can’t talk about it. All I can say is that Matt [Groening] and David [X. Cohen] have such a wonderful project and I love it dearly – love it to death. And hopefully we’ll be able to work it out. And I think we will. It’s just going to take a little time and that’s about it.”

I mentioned to DiMaggio how tremendous the fan support has been for the actors since the story broke and DiMaggio nodded, saying, “Yeah, the fans have been really wonderful and that’s really great. But you know, that’s just the way it goes. That’s just the way this show business works. And we’ll see what happens. Hopefully… I have a good feeling it’s going to turn out for the best. That’s about it. That’s all I’ve got. That’s all I have to say about that!”

My Facebook friend and fellow voice actor fan Sherry Ane Moore attended Comic-Con’s Futurama panel and provided the following updates via her Facebook status [NOTE: Beware of spoilers on upcoming Futurama episodes!]:

– is in the Futurama panel. Wondering if the sh*t is going to hit the fan…
– So far, it’s going without incident. The panelists are writers of the show, David X Cohen and Matt Groening. They showed and talked about writer’s notes that were written and passed around during the show’s production. Then they opened it up to Q&A — they are not taking questions about the recasting.

At the beginning, Matt gave a shoutout to the cast, saying “we love the Futurama actors and we hope that they and Fox can come to an agreement shortly.”
– There’s also someone here in a great Nibbler costume… she’s getting the grand prize; Matt is handing out various Futurama gear to those asking questions. The new DVD boxset with all movies and tv seasons.
– They are talking about future episodes. First, there will be twitter in the year 3000 and second, the origin of Scruffy will be revealed. Third, there might be a relationship between Bender and Amy, and they might get married.
– That marriage will create controversy because a human and a robot will be getting married. Fourth, Zapp and Leela will get stranded again. Fifth, Fry and the Professor will have a time machine that only goes forward in time. Sixth, the universe will collapse.

Also found additional details and news summary thanks to forum member “mowub”:

First image from the panel:
So far, it’s just Matt Groening.

Update: From what I’ve heard, apparently MG and DXC are “reluctant” to answer any questions about the recasting thing.

– Bender marries Amy?!
– Origin stories for Zoidberg and Scruffy
– Mom takes over Twitter
– Anthology of Interest III
– Leela and Zapp get stranded on a desert planet
– Fry and Prof. Farnsworth travel farther into the future in a time machine.

They gave out Futurama stuff to some fans, but they ran out and Matt Groening actually started giving out FAMILY GUY BOXER SHORTS.

Underwhelming. At this point the fate of the voice actors is unknown.

(A very special thanks to Sherry for reporting updates direct from the panel, and to mowub for the heads-up on the IGN article and additional panel updates.)

Update: 7.24.2009 — Clarification from Maurice LaMarche on the Futurama panel, following the report (below) that the actors had been “dis-invited” from attending the presentation:

Just to clarify, we have NOT been kicked out of Comic-Con completely. In fact, gotta give ’em credit, Fox was good enough to keep our registrations and hotel arrangements “alive”, (although at our own expense), perhaps because somebody, somewhere at Fox Productions is preparing some kind of reasonable offer back to us, in time to save the panel.

Who knows? Maybe they’re just being decent. Anyway, I always express gratitude when I can, and this does save my kid’s once a year trip (cz Comic-Con’s sold out), so in spite of any contention, thank you, Fox. And thank you to our friends, Matt & Dave, thank you Marcy and Antonia, and thank you, Lee.

The “Good news, Everyone” is that we (the cast) WILL still be signing autographs in the Sail Pavilion from 3pm til 7pm. Come by, say hi, even if you don’t buy an autograph (yeah, sorry… we “greedy actors” have to make a living somehow). And if you have questions, and we can legally and ethically answer them, we will.
there STILL WILL BE a Futurama panel (as of this writing, anyway). Just not including us. So, go check it out, if you like. I just hope that what is said from up there is accurate and fair, as we will not be there to rebut. However, I do still dare to think that Matt, Dave and the writer-producers are our friends. The people who have been doing this “recasting thing”, are the “Box Executives”, not Matt and David X. Be nice to them.

Here’s the panel info again:

Saturday, July 25th, 1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

If anyone reading this is attending this panel and could provide feedback on what occurred and the fans’ reactions, it would be most appreciated to pass onto Futurama fans here. Please e-mail me at (just remove the “NOSPAM”) with details. Also, if you took any photos from the Futurama voice cast autograph session, I’d be more than appreciative of you sharing them here with your fellow Futurama fans who weren’t able to attend the con.

Update: 7.23.2009 — [Update deleted at the request of one of my sources.]

Update: 7.22.2009 — From Jacob W Robinson (via Facebook): “My friend, sadly auditioned for Futurama. I was pretty angry that he tried. But none the less, he told me when he was contacted, the man he spoke to told him chances are no one will be hired. Now what this means I don’t know. But I hope it means Fox is realizing its mistake and will realize fans will literally turn them into Torgo’s Executive Powder if they cast different actors.”

I don’t mean to cast doubt on Jacob’s word, but for those reading this please keep in mind that this is second-hand info that cannot be verified as legitimate.

Additionally, Billy West posted the following on his forum today:

Hi everyone!!!
I came on to let everybody know how grateful I am for the
OVERWHELMING and loving support that I have received from the
amazing fans of Futurama!
Everyone has been a CHAMP as usual and I,along
with all of you and of course the international fans of the show continue
hoping that things will work out!

Wonderful wonderful people.

Thank you for everything!!!

Love to all,


Update: 7.21.2009 — From The Hollywood Reporter:

20th Century Fox TV has restructured its marketing and communications teams.

Mark Pearson, senior vp brand management, will take over the studio’s marketing and research departments, while Chris Alexander, senior vp corporate communications, will head 20th TV’s publicity and talent relations departments.

The timing of this news is curious, in light of what’s happening with the Futurama cast. And it will be interesting to see if this restructuring will have any effect on cast negotiations.

[Link source removed by request.]

Update: 7.21.2009 — The “open call” for this audition apparently has a deadline of July 24th. That’s less than 24 hours before the Futurama panel scheduled Saturday, July 25th at 1:00 PM at the San Diego Comic-Con. And once this Craigslist posting reaches the major media sites (finally catching up with the fan blogs), it’s going to make for a very interesting panel presentation come Saturday.

I found this post on the forums at from someone who sent an e-mail to the first casting notice posted by Forces of Geek, and this is what they received in return:

This is an Automated Response:

Thank you for your submission for the casting of Futurama. Please note the following:

1. We will do our best to answer any emailed questions, but questions from agencies and managers will take priority.

2. If you are submitting an AUDIO AUDITION it MUST be a reading of the sides with your best match of the established characters, NOT a general VO Demo. Unfortunately, general VO demos will not be helpful for the re-casting of established characters.

3. Audio auditions MUST be in MP3 format. UPDATE: Good news everyone! I’ll accept M4a auditions as well, due to overwhelming demand.

If you did not follow the above guidelines, no worries, just submit again following those guidlines.

The sides can be found on Sides Express or at the following link:

The sides have links to clips of the show for use as reference.
When reading, please consider not only the voice, but the comedy as well. [Emphasis mine.] Auditions will be accepted until at least July 24th, 2009.



Notice anything missing from that line about “the voice” and “the comedy”? How about the acting!

The key word in voice acting is “ACTING.” And this is why sound-alikes won’t work for Futurama and why the show would fail without the original cast. Doing a sound-alike for a principal cast member requires more than just being able to imitate a voice while trying to be funny too. The acting should be the top priority, not an afterthought.

Here’s how the math plays out:

Sound-alikes + comedy – acting = Fail.

Updated again: 7.21.2009 (2:00 PM) — It has been brought to my attention that there is speculation that the Craigslist ad is nothing more than a prank.

I just got off the phone with a representative from Dandridge Entertainment who stated that the ad “is not a prank,” and added that the same notice has been forwarded by a number of other agencies to their voice talents.

[Original comment posted here removed by request.]

BTW, I must offer a tip of the hat to “Svip” of the Futurama Wiki — — for linking my article on Slashdot. I’ve since gotten more than 5,000 hits on this coverage since it was posted.

Zoidberg 2Update: 7.20.2009 — Unbelievable. 20th Century Fox is soliciting auditions for Futurama via Craigslist:

Date: 2009-07-17, 12:51PM PDT
Reply to: [address withheld, but the auditions are now being handled by]

This is an IMMEDIATE NEED for ANIMATED Voice Over Talent. FUTURAMA is now Casting for these Famous Voices:



-SUBMIT TO [address withheld]

* Location: WLA
* it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: no pay [emphasis mine]

You did catch that last line, right? “No pay”?

Fry spit-take

Bwaaah-ha-haaaaa! That’s the best laugh I’ve had in months.

And just an FYI: I refuse to post any e-mail addresses for the auditions in this article. I’m already getting too many search hits off “futurama audition(s)” and I will not provide the means here for anyone to submit an audition (you can “Google” them for yourself — I’m not going to make it easy for you).

I don’t mean to offend anyone who decides to submit for this (even though I believe it’s unprofessional), but you need to realize that if 20th Century Fox/Comedy Central gets their way and replaces the cast and you book this the gig, not only will it kill the show, but you must understand: a) you will never be recognized by the fandom (you’ll likely be hated and despised for it); b) helping 20th Century Fox/Comedy Central dump the cast by getting hired will not help your career in the long run. There are a number of casting directors and voice actors who fully support the Futurama cast, and having connections in the VO industry is vitally important. Stab a fellow voice actor in the back by taking their job, and I guarantee you it will come back and bite you in the arse. (Not that the voice actor would bite you, but then again… I bet John DiMaggio would.)

Karma can be a killer, and what goes around…

And if you think you’re going to “laugh all the way to the bank,” and this is going to be your “big break,” please take note of the messages in my original article below from Bob Bergen and Mark Evanier.

[Original update posted here removed by request.]

[Thanks to Deirdre for the heads up on the CraigsList ad via The Voiceover Bulletin Board.]

Update: 7.17.2009, 7:00 has an op-ed piece to correct “misreporting” by various web media outlets and bloggers, clarifying that FOX is in no way responsible for this:

To clarify, when reporters refer to “FOX” or “Fox” (without any additional words afterwards), they’re referring to a television network, a distribution system for television programming owned by the good people at NewsCorp.

FOX, the television network, both aired “Futurama” for many seasons and cancelled “Futurama.”

FOX, the television network, has absolutely nothing to do with “Futurama” as of this exact second.

The problem here stems from generally shoddy online reporting of the deal that resurrected “Futurama,” a deal that was between Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox TV.

Here’s where I have to clarify again: 20th Century Fox TV is a production company, the company that produces “Futurama.” Although the same people own 20th Century Fox TV and FOX, they are not the same thing and they have completely different corporate structures and a deal with one is not a deal with the other.

So Comedy Central and 20th Century Fox are bringing “Futurama” back to TV. 20th Century Fox TV has the option to shop first-run episodes of “Futurama” to broadcast networks. That would include FOX. As of now, though, FOX has not acquired broadcast rights to new episodes of “Futurama.”

FOX *may* acquire broadcast rights to new episodes of “Futurama.” In fact, it’s expected that such a deal will be announced at Comic-Con next week. As of now, though, FOX is unconnected to new episodes of “Futurama” and the network has nothing to do with any recasting. In fact, the casting noticed published by Forces of Geek clearly says “Twentieth Century Fox Television.”

The following was originally posted 7.17.2009 @ 5:27 PM:

Zoidberg 1Now confirmed via Facebook direct from Futurama cast members Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, and John DiMaggio, 20th Century Fox TV has actually released a casting notice for sound-alikes to replace the core voice cast of Futurama: DiMaggio, LaMarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille, and Katey Sagal.

Forces of Geek has published the audition notice (originally posted on Facebook) from 20th Century Fox TV, and even an e-mail address for the casting director. (And just an FYI, but was acquired as a domain name January 30, 2009, and is based out of Canada?)

An earlier update from The Hollywood Reporter stated:

[20th Century Fox TV] is proceeding with auditioning new actors after failing to reach an agreement with the original voice cast: John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille and Katey Sagal.

“We love the ‘Futurama’ voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands,” the studio said in a statement Friday. “While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to (creators) Matt (Groening) and David (Cohen)’s brilliantly subversive characters.”

20th declined further comment but sources indicated that the voice actors had been seeking at least a tenfold increase of what they made when the animated series ran on Fox from 1999-2003.

The studio approached the original cast members after reaching a deal with Comedy Central in June to produce 26 new episodes of “Futurama.”

Sources indicated that it is still possible that the two sides may come to an agreement.

And Variety published an article a few hours prior to the above with more specific details, and appears to contradict THR’s reporting that the cast was allegedly asking for “a tenfold increase” of what they originally earned working on the series:

The stars had all expressed interest in returning. But with the budget for “Futurama” dramatically slashed, the salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking.

As a result, 20th has put out a casting call to find replacement voice actors for the show.

The situation is unusual this time around in that 20th and Comedy Central have been kicking around ways to make “Futurama,” originally produced for a broadcast network (Fox), make financial sense for a cable run. Yet there’s also still a possibility — and a window built in — for “Futurama” to run on a broadcast network first.

It’s believed that the “Futurama” cast members were asking for around $75,000 per episode; it was not clear what 20th was offering. Calls to the voice stars’ reps were not immediately returned.

Mark Evanier also disputes the report from The Hollywood Reporter that the cast is asking “a tenfold increase”:

You may … have heard that the entire voice act is being replaced. This is almost certainly not so, though the production company has announced that they’d welcome submissions of voice demos by folks who think they can do the characters. Allow me to explain…

What this all means is that members of the voice cast (Billy West, Maurice LaMarche and others) are asking for certain amounts of money higher than Fox wishes to pay. Fox no doubt thinks (or for the purposes of negotiation, is taking the position) that the amounts are insane and astronomical. This is unlikely. All these actors have wise and experienced agents who know how profitable Futurama has been in the past and how much loot it will likely gross in the future, and what would be a fair price for its vocal stars.

The company does not want to replace those actors. Those actors helped make the show popular enough that it’s still a viable commodity, [but] they’d like those actors for less money because that will mean more money for the company. That is why they’re soliciting replacements, not because they want replacements but because they want to plant the seed of fret; to make the actors and their reps wonder if maybe, just maybe, Fox is crazy enough to actually replace the whole cast with cheaper folks so they’d better grab the latest of what have probably been several final offers.

[Original update posted here has been removed by request.]

Sources close to the cast have confirmed with me that the excessive salary amounts allegedly being requested by the cast which were reported by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter are false.

Now, you animation fans and industry peeps reading this will remember too well that this same thing occurred with The Simpsons and The Powerpuff Girls (the latter of which I covered extensively back in 2001), and I honestly believe it was largely due to fans rallying support via the internet that the voice casts were saved.

The character voices on Futurama are the primary reason why I became a fan — not just because Matt Groening’s name was attached to it, or because the series is well-written and produced (which it is), but because the cast’s performances added a tremendous amount of entertainment value to the show. Futurama also introduced many to the voice talents of John DiMaggio, and Bender became the series’ breakthrough character. And DiMaggio deservedly won an Annie Award in 2001 for his performance on the series. (For a comprehensive cast listing on Futurama with links, pics and info, visit

Would I watch Futurama without the cast who helped the series (and movies) to become successful? Not on your life. And if you’re a Futurama fan, I seriously doubt you would either. As Bender would say, “Fox can bite my shiny, metal ass!”

[Original source quoted here removed by request.]

If you’re on Facebook, show your support for Futurama’s original voices by joining these groups:

“Leave the cast of Futurama alone!!!!” (Thanks to Ashley for the heads-up on this.)
Save the Voices of Futurama
No Billy West? No John DiMaggio? No New Futuramas!

And feel free to sign the fan petitions too:
Keep The Original Voice Actors on Futurama Petition
Stop Fox From Recasting Futurama Actors

You can also send feedback to Fox Broadcasting via, and to Comedy Central via

And if you’re a voice-over actor reading this and considering auditioning, I’m passing along a message I received from cartoon voice actor Bob Bergen addressing this subject:

Many of you in the business have heard about Futurama auditions. This is a negotiation ploy!! The cast of The Simpsons have had to go through this several times over the years.

Bottom line is, the cast of Futurama deserve whatever amount they are asking for. The network and studio make zillions more than these actors ever will!!

Many of in the Futurama cast are friends of mine. I respect their talent, and I respect them as people.

I’m asking that if you are asked to audition for this, please respectfully pass. There will be more gigs, I promise!

I believe in karma. And I know what goes around comes around. Don’t advance your career by damaging someone else’s.

And Mark Evanier adds on the same topic:

If you’re an aspiring cartoon voice actor who thinks “This is my break,” think something else. They’ll get thousands of submissions and it’s unlikely that anyone with hiring capacity will ever listen to any of them. This is, like I said, not the way to really find a replacement. It’s just a showy means of intimidating the actors and their agents…a way which costs the studio nothing. They don’t even have to book time in a recording studio or have producers sit and listen to auditions. The whole idea is to be able to say to Billy West’s agent, “Hey, we’ve got three thousand demos from guys who can imitate your boy’s voice.” But I know Billy’s agent. He’s been at this a long time and he knows how to not be intimidated and to arrive at a reasonable deal.

Hopefully, we’ll this situation will be resolved soon, because there’s a Futurama panel presentation schedled for Comic-Con next weekend. From Comic-Con’s schedule:

Saturday, July 25th, 1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

Should prove a very interesting panel, regardless of how this turns out.

It’s interesting to look back now on a couple of interviews published in June when it was announced that Futurama had been picked up for a run of 26 new episodes via Comedy Central.

Matt Groening stated in a June 9th interview with Variety that “he was inspired by the ‘Star Trek’ movie this summer enough that the updated ‘Futurama’ may take a similar tact to explain the launch of this run,” which implies that he was considering something along the lines of a reboot of the series and/or its characters.

Variety’s article also reported: “Voice actors Billy West (who played Philip Fry), Katey Sagal (Leela) and John DiMaggio (Bender) have all signed on to return.” To which Groening added, “Basically everybody who has worked on the show wants to come back. I choose to believe it’s more than the economic situation. People had a good time working on this show.”

And in a Wired June 12th interview with Futurama executive producer David X. Cohen, seemingly in response to Groening’s interview, Cohen said, “Obviously we’re not going to recast it. Fortunately our characters are still young and good-looking, so there’s no need for that yet. But in upcoming episodes we want to talk about the characters’ lives and the everyday tech of the future. We’re already working on one involving a shocking sexual relationship. We like to both shock and inform our viewers in equal measure.”

Guest Voices on ‘Batman: The Brave and The Bold’


Toon Zone has preview clips and images fror the May 8th episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold, “Menace of the Conqueror Caveman!”.

The episode features the voice talents of Diedrich Bader as Batman and Punch, R. Lee Ermey as Wildcat, Billy West as Skeets, Tom Everett Scott as Booster Gold, Michael Dorn as Kru’ll and Bane, and Jane Singer as Jewelee and Trung.

Related news: 5.01.2009 — CBR Interviews Tara Strong.