"King of the Hill" could reign at ABC

November 3, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) Fox's canceled veteran animated series "King of the Hill" could reign again at ABC.

Sources said the network is eyeing "King" as a companion for its upcoming animated comedy "The Goode Family," which comes from "King" co-creator Mike Judge.

A spokesman for "King of the Hill" producer 20th Century Fox TV would only confirm "another network" is interested in the show. ABC had no comment.

At a time when shows are being renewed while earning modest ratings, "King of the Hill" is doing nearly as well as CBS' breakout freshman show "The Mentalist." Sunday's outing, boosted by "The Simpsons" Halloween episode, hit a season high of 8.6 million viewers.

While a possible pairing of "King" and "Goode" would make a lot of sense for ABC, creating such an animated block would be difficult logistically.

It takes nine months to produce new "King" episodes. So while "Goode" is slated for midseason, "King" won't be ready until next fall. If ABC orders "King" and "Goode" flops, it's left with an expensive cartoon next fall with no partner.

Another option for "Hill" is to move to cable. But between the animation and voice talent, "King" is considered pricey and probably too rich for a cable network, such as Adult Swim.

If ABC were to pick up the show, it would mark the second series to change broadcast networks in the past year -- the first being "Scrubs'" move from NBC to ABC. ABC also expressed interest in CBS' "The New Adventures of Old Christine" when the show was on the bubble last year. All three titles are half-hour shows, a format the network has had some difficulty programing.

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