It's been nearly a decade since the Texas-based, propane-selling Hill family graced our TV screens, but now it sounds like they might be coming back. A King of the Hill revival is in talks, according to showrunner Mike Judge, who spoke about the prospects of a reboot for his classic animated series at PaleyFest recently.
Mike Judge confirmed that there have been talks about bringing King of the Hill back for another run, but he wants the new version of the series to stand apart from the original show in one crucial way: all of the characters have aged in real time. Aging characters in real time would be a pretty unprecedented move for an animated sitcom, since the genre is known for keeping its characters consistent throughout series' entire runs. But Judge asserts that the animation style of King of the Hill calls for an older version of the Hill family if the show does return:
We’ve talked about a way to bring it back. I think it would have to be different ... It would have to have a passage of time. People have grown up. I think The Simpsons are so iconic just the way they’re drawn, you can keep Bart that same age for 60 years. Our characters, it was starting to strain a little bit to have Bobby still be that age for that long.
Since King of the Hill ended in 2009, the characters would be nearly ten years older if a revival series was picked up today. The most significant change in an aged-up version of the show would be in Bobby Hill, who was thirteen years old in the series finale, putting him in his early 20s in Mike Judge's reboot idea.
Mike Judge's confirmation that a King of the Hill revival is being tossed around follows Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Dana Walden sharing that the network is interested in bringing back the long-running animated series. Walden said she spoke with Judge and co-creator Greg Daniels about reviving King of the Hill last summer, hinting that the 2016 election may have sparked a renewed interest in the series, and both showrunners expressed excitement in rebooting the show.
The only thing that is getting is getting in the way of a possible King of the Hill reboot, according to Dana Walden, is the busy schedules of the show's two creators. Mike Judge is focused on writing, producing, and directing his hit HBO comedy Silicon Valley, which just premiered its fifth season, and Greg Daniels is producing the TBS comedy People of Earth, along with fielding reboot rumors centered on his other hit sitcoms The Office and Parks & Recreation.
It may also be difficult to reunite the King of the Hill cast for a revival series. Pamela Adlon, who voiced Bobby Hill, is now the star and showrunner of her own critically beloved HBO series, Better Things. And tragically, Brittany Murphy — who voiced the Hills' naive cousin Luann — died shortly after the series finale aired at the end of 2009.
But it definitely sounds like there is some interest in this revival, so it could definitely come together. After all, the first iteration of King of the Hill was a huge success, having run for 13 seasons (nearly 260 episodes) from 1997 to 2009 on Fox, making it the network's third longest-running animated series ever, after the still-airing The Simpsons and Family Guy. We will just have to wait and see if everything comes together for a King of the Hill revival series — it certainly sounds like a possibility!