''King of the Hill'': Word on the 200th episode -- Josh Wolk has details on the plot that almost wound up being the series' last

After nearly 10 years and countless alley beers, Fox’s King of the Hill celebrates its 200th episode on May 14. The occasion will be marked with Southern inhospitality, as disapproving Hill matriarch Peggy tries to undermine the quest by Luanne’s hick boyfriend Lucky (Tom Petty) to pass his GED so he can propose — only to find out Luanne is pregnant.

What was originally conceived as just another story arc about the dimwitted lovers suddenly became the walkup to the series finale when Fox declined to order more episodes last year. Fortunately, the subtle animated comedy avoided the traditional wedding-and-a-baby finale fate: Two months ago, the network surprisingly ordered another season, and Luanne went back to being just another knocked-up niece. ”It wasn’t supposed to have any import,” says KOTH executive producer John Altschuler. ”Then it had to have import, and we thought, Okay, that’ll work. And now it doesn’t have to have any import anymore.”

The writers prefer it that way, as they never thought of King as a show that needed to go out with Friends-like life changes. In fact, they already had a stuntless finale ready to go (episode 201, actually), which will now be shelved until the end really does come. ”It’s very simple,” says Altschuler. ”[The show is about] four guys who just hang out in an alley and talk about what’s going on in their lives. That’s the level of excitement you can look forward to in the finale.”

King of the Hill
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