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TV fans will, more often than not, pay close attention to cancellations and renewals happening with long-lasting broadcast series or hugely popular cable shows, not giving much consideration for how that process works for more niche fare, such as animated programming. I recently spoke with The Fairly OddParents creator Butch Hartman at Comic-Con, and he floored me by saying just how many times the beloved series had been cancelled by Nickelodeon over the years.
Fairly OddParents has been cancelled five times. We've had five wrap parties. And every time we have a wrap party, like a week after the wrap party, they go, 'You know what? We're gonna bring it back.' And I was like, 'Okay.' I've never felt it was ever going to go away.
Hopefully "they" have always had the decency to get Butch Hartman in person to deliver the good-after-bad news, and didn't just opt for an impersonal email or text message. If Nickelodeon execs thought it was fine to keep dropping awful announcements on the crew of one of its most popular shows, the reneging of said announcements should come equipped with a spa visit, a bunch of booze and a new car with "IM SRRY" as the license plate. It's entirely possible that I mistakenly think Nickelodeon execs are also wish-granting fairies.
I was only familiar with the biggest of the cancellations, which came back in 2006 as the show was gearing up for Season 5. It was over a year later that Hartman announced Fairly OddParents had been given a batch of new episodes to produce, with the TV movie Fairly OddBaby ushering in Season 6. And it was this situation that I'd asked the creator about, in relation to how Nickelodeon is currently bringing back Hey Arnold! for its own TV movie, with more classic cartoons possibly returning in the future. (Such as Rugrats.) I wasn't expecting to learn that Hartman had experienced the defeat of cancellation several more times in the interim.
Thankfully, Nickelodeon's sporadic decisions don't seem to have Hartman pessimistic about The Fairly OddParents' future on the network. Here's what he said when I asked if he was hopeful for where things are going.
Oh yeah. If, given the chance, Fairly OddParents could go for a long, long time. [Former Nickelodeon President] Russell Hicks even said when he came to Nickelodeon, 'We can do this like Scooby-Doo. We can just keep making it for years.' And I said, 'I like the sound of that, Russell.' But it really could, because it's a kid who makes wishes, and every kid can relate to it. And I hope we get to do more.
Considering the Emmy-winning Fairly OddParents is the longest running Nickelodeon animated series behind SpongeBob SquarePants, with its ratings and popularity not far behind, I would also expect it to stick around the network for quite a while. After all, we only got to meet Timmy's new neighbor Chloe Carmichael earlier this year, and she has a lot of wishing left to do.
The Fairly OddParents will return to Nickelodeon for the remainder of Season 10 later this year.