'King of the Hill' could reign at ABC

Former Fox comedy may be paired with 'Goode Family'

There's a chance that Fox's canceled animated series "King of the Hill" could reign again.

Sources say ABC, which has "The Goode Family" -- an animated comedy series from "King" co-creator Mike Judge -- lined up for midseason, is eyeing the veteran toon.

A spokesman for producer 20th Century Fox TV would only confirm that "another network is interested" in the show. ABC had no comment, and there is no deal is in place.

At a time when shows are being renewed while earning modest 2.4 adult demo ratings, the current 13th season of "King" is averaging a 3.4 -- nearly as much as CBS' breakout freshman drama "The Mentalist." Sunday's edition, boosted by the annual Halloween episode of "The Simpsons," hit a season high.

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

"King" takes nine months to produce new episodes because of the animation work involved. So while "Goode" is slated for midseason, "King" wouldn't be ready until the fall. If ABC orders "King" and "Goode" flops, the network would be left with an expensive half-hour animated show with no partner in the fall.

One source hinted that ABC might just opt for a script order, which would getting the ball rolling on another "King" season while leaving the network time to test "Goode" on the air.

Another option for "King" is to move to cable. But between cost of the show's animation and voice talent, "King" is considered pricey and likely too rich for a network like Cartoon Network's programming block 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," which moved 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 programming.