has officially confirmed last week's reports that the resurrected animated favorite "Futurama
" will be back for two new seasons starting in 2012.
is for 26 new episodes, officially categorized as Season 7-A and 7-B. We're sure there's a perfectly good contractual reason why things are being categorized in this manner.
"We're very grateful to Comedy Central and Twentieth Television for this show of support," state series creator Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. "Our entire staff will celebrate tonight by going out and getting even drunker."
What the renewal means for fans is that there will be new episodes of "Futurama" premiering each of the next three summers. The 13-episode Season 6-B will premiere this summer on Thursday, June 23 at 10 p.m. The 7-A season will premiere in the summer of 2012 and the 7-B season will premiere in the summer of 2013.
"Successfully bringing the show back last summer was gratifying enough," states Comedy Central EVP David Bernath. "Now, being able to extend the series for two more years is beyond our expectations! The dedicated fans have spoken and we are excited to bring them ‘Futurama’ for the foreseeable future."
The complete vocal cast, including Billy West, Katey Sagal and John DiMaggio, has signed on for the next 26 episodes, avoiding the sort of protracted negotiations that had fans freaking out two years ago.
"It is my great honor to be back with all my friends and colleagues," states West. "There's nothing better."
Adds DiMaggio helpfully, "Winner, winner, chicken dinner!"
"Futurama" returned last June, premiering its sixth season on Comedy Central seven years after its last original episode aired on FOX. Last summer's "Futurama" run averaged 2.5 million viewers per week, doing a 3.0 rating among men 18-34.
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"Matt and David created one of the most brilliantly subversive animated comedies ever made in 'Futurama' and we consider its continued life on Comedy Central to be a huge victory for this studio," state TCFTV Chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. "This show is a tremendous labor of love for all concerned, from its talented voice cast to the incredible writers and animators who pour so much of themselves into every episode. And its fans are among the most loyal and passionate there are, so we're especially pleased to be able to promise them many more original episodes to look forward to in the years ahead."