As last night’s Banksy assist demonstrated, The Simpsons can still impact pop culture twenty years on. But that isn’t stopping Fox from trying to keep its animation pipeline flowing with fresh material: The network has just handed out series orders to a pair of new toons, green-lighting an animated version of Napoleon Dynamite and a series featuring the voice of Jonah Hill. And amazingly, Family Guy guru Seth MacFarlane isn’t behind either!
The Dynamite project, which has been in the works since last spring, comes from Mike Scully, a former show-runner on The Simpsons (and the creator of the underappreciated Mel Gibson–produced sitcom The Savages). Scully is writing and exec producing the show with original Napoleon writers Jared and Jerusha Hess. Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez, and most of the film’s major cast members are onboard to reprise their roles (this time, by voice only) in the show, which will once again focus on a quirky teenager growing up in rural Idaho. Fox has ordered six episodes of the new Napoleon.
Meanwhile, Fox has given a seven-episode commitment to Allen Gregory, which will have Hill voicing the title role of a freakishly smart, internationally acclaimed 7-year-old kid who’s about to take on the task of attending elementary school with kids his own age. Hill is writing and exec producing the series with Hot Tub Time Machine (and Yes Man) writers Andrew Mogel and Jarred Paul. Former News Corp. chief Peter Chernin is producing the show with ex-NBC exec Katherine Pope (the duo are also behind Fox’s upcoming dino-drama Terra Nova).
Both Napoleonand Allen Gregory are being developed for the 2011–12 TV season. Fox has made expanding (or at least refreshing) its Sunday animation lineup a major priority: The network is currently readying the launch of Bob’s Burgers, a King of the Hill–esque half-hour that’s already getting hyped on air for an expected early 2011 debut.