Why Reviving King of the Hill Is a Good Idea

photo: Fox
Earlier today, Fox announced that they are in preliminary talks to revive 'King of the Hill'. The beloved animated series ran for a whopping 13 seasons and 259 episodes and finished its initial run in 2009. Ultimately, this news wasn't shocking at all, in fact, it was as normal as things get. From the film industry to broadcast television, revivals are simply unavoidable in today's entertainment landscape. Despite the public's general disdain for lack of fresh ideas, it's definitely a smart business idea to put your money on an established brand instead of something new and original. Still, that doesn't mean revivals always end up making money. Fox's '24 Legacy was canceled after one short season due to disappointing ratings while ABC's 'The Muppets' had initial interest but ended up losing nearly 70% of its audience over the course of one short season. But, despite recent failure, reviving 'King of the Hill' is a smart idea for many different reasons.

Fox is in a Comedy Drought 
Fox has a diverse line-up of comedies, but most of them aren't doing well. 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' ended its season with a meager 0.6 in the 18-49 demo and averaged a weak 0.85 overall. 'New Girl' and 'The Last Man on Earth' didn't perform much better with both shows hovering around the 0.9 range. As far as newbies go, only 'The Mick' managed to survive, and while it had a high average, it ended its season in the same range as the live-action comedy veterans. Ultimately, the non-'Mick' live-action comedies only performed at around 70% of the broadcast rating average, which isn't very good. Having an established animated program added to their slate could turn things around. In fact, it seems that the only solid-performing comedies on Fox are the animated ones. 

Animation Is Doing Really Well
Sure, Fox's live-action lineup isn't doing well, but the animated stuff is on fire. 'The Simpsons' is nearly 30 years old, but still managed an impressive 1.8 average. Sure, it was boosted by football on many occasions, but it still easily beat out the live-action comedies when it didn't lead out of a big football game. 'Family Guy' also managed a respectable 1.2 average while 'Bob's Burgers' did about the same as the live-action shows despite airing in the 7:30 pm death slot. Additionally, all 3 animated shows had impressive year-to-year trends. 'Family Guy' was down 13%, 'Bob's was down 8%, and 'The Simpsons' was actually up a touch from last year. In comparison, 'New Girl' & 'Last Man' fell around 20% while 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' was down by 30%. Even outside of Fox, Adult Swim's 'Rick & Morty' premiered to a new series high for its third season and 'South Park' was up 16% year-to-year for its latest one. It would be very smart to invest in a well-known animated program at a time where animated shows are doing incredibly well and 'King of the Hill' would fit like a glove on Fox's cartoon-dominant Sunday lineup. 

Syndication Exposure
'King of the Hill' ended its run 8 years ago. Since that time, the series has been airing in syndication, primarily on Adult Swim. It's very likely that many people who never watched the show in its original run have discovered it through this medium. 

The Time is Right
Unlike the upcoming 'American Idol' revival, which is returning barely two years after the show ended, 'King of the Hill' has been off the air for over a decade. None of the characters have aged since the series is animated and most of the voice actors are still alive. Ultimately, having Hank Hill & company return to the small screen would be a smart idea for both Fox and fans of the series. 

What The Past Ratings Tell
Ratings patterns varied for the 13 seasons due to schedule shifts.  A promising mid-season addition for 1997, King of the Hill climbed the ranks in season 2, peaking in 25th place.  However, Fox shuffled the sitcom to Tuesdays, as well as undesirable timeslots on Sundays between 7-8pm.  FOX moved the series to Tuesdays at 8pm in 1998, leading to a sharp drop in rank and hemorrhaging approximately 45-percent of the audience.  It returned to Sundays at 7:30 in 1999, gradually regaining momentum with steadiness as overall seasons collapsed.  Starting in 2002, FOX experimented with time shifts on Sundays, resulting in the sharpest drop in Season 9 due to preemption.  More scheduling disruptions took their toll on season 11, followed by FOX cementing season 12 with the 8:30 timeslot in the Simpsons/Family Guy valley.

Throughout the 29+ moves FOX foisted onto the durable franchise, King of The Hill proved resilient to scheduling whiplash.  In the current scheduling climate minus Football overrun, King of The Hill has potential to boast 0.8-1.0 ratings if placed in the Sunday 7:30 timeslot.  Higher potential exists if KOH returns to the Simpsons/Family Guy valley at 8:30, with potential from 0.9-1.2.  And if saddled with undesirable 7:00 scheduling, KOH may manage a 0.6-0.8.  Placement is key, as KOH has potential to repair the softened Sunday lineup.  A return engagement may ring another solid performer and aid FOX in restoring solidarity lost in 2014 when American Dad moved to TBS.

What do you think of this article? Would you like to see more of 'King of the Hill'? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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