Is Hank Hill going Hollywood? That’s certainly what Fox wants you to believe, judging by recent promos for King of the Hill indicating that the pride of Arlen, Tex., will be livin’ large in the land of Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts next season. The network has gone so far as to prepare a straight-faced press statement: ”We are currently in discussions with the series creators about moving King of the Hill to Los Angeles. We feel this move will only enhance the creative direction of the show.” The announcement certainly grabbed the attention of Hill-ions: Fox has been ”inundated with hundreds and hundreds of E-mails and phone calls from very concerned viewers,” according to a spokeswoman.
We’ll tell you whut: A sudden Hollywood shuffle for the animated hit sitcom seems a tad fishy. For one thing, the very premise of the 1 1/2-year-old series is the ups and downs of redneck life in Texas — it would be like taking Star Trek out of space. Also, given that production on animation begins up to nine months before airdate, Fox wouldn’t be ”currently in discussions” — a change of scenery for next season should already have been animated. So, is all this ruckus just a shameless Nielsen stunt? ”If I’m ever guilty of doing something to increase the ratings of this show,” deadpans Hill exec producer Greg Daniels, ”then that will be my last day of work.” Fox officials won’t comment on the coastal cliff-hanger (airing May 17). However, a source at Twentieth Century Fox Television, which produces the series, offers one telling clue: ”You’re more likely to see Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher winning an Emmy than the Hills moving to L.A.”