There are a few TV characters that have come to define Texans for the rest of the world: the oily Machiavellians of Dallas; the earnest underdogs of Friday Night Lights; the stoic sadists of Walker, Texas Ranger. But arguably, no show has captured the simple complexities of Texas life quite like King of the Hill. For thirteen seasons and an eternity in syndication, the Mike Judge sitcom set in the fictional town of Arlen gave us Texans who played into all the easy stereotypes, yet were recognizably complex and three-dimensional—all the more ironic, considering King of the Hill was a cartoon. Propane salesman Hank Hill was, in his own words, “complicated,” waging a quiet, quixotic battle with his rapidly changing state that was never so simple as conservative versus liberal, or redneck versus Californian. (Even though Hank really, really hated California.) Now rumor has it that the show might return, at a time when those struggles have only become less clear-cut and more got-dang pronounced.
Reports of King of the Hill’s second chance originated last week with executive producer Brent Forrester, who let the news drop during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. “I am sure Greg Daniels and Mike Judge will murder me for sharing this but . . . HELL YES,” he wrote. “They are in hot negotiations to bring back King of the Hill. The Trump administration made it suddenly very relevant again. The characters have all aged 15 years. The project is sooooo good. Okay I’ve said too much.”
This is far from the first time the show’s been tipped for a return. Ever since King of the Hill wrapped in 2009, fans have been asking when it might be resurrected, with Judge saying as early as 2011 that he wouldn’t rule it out. Discussions about a continuation at Fox were reported in 2017, but ultimately didn’t pan out. But of course, times have changed. The rapacious demands of streaming, dovetailing with the audience’s natural fear of the unfamiliar, have yielded reboots of everything from Party Down to The Real World to Punky Brewster. Even Judge’s own Beavis and Butt-Head is coming back. With Disney understandably intent on leveraging all it can from its recently acquired Fox library, refurbishing a solid, fondly remembered series like King of the Hill (which, as a bonus, boasts no visibly aged actors to remind you of time’s cruel passage) seems a safer bet than ever.
Like Forrester said, there is also this notion of “relevance,” something that became obvious when the internet briefly erupted in debate over whether Hank Hill would have voted for Donald Trump. And sure, there’s certainly some curiosity there about how the staunchly Republican, yet fundamentally decent, Willie-and-LBJ-and-Ann Richards-loving Hank would react to a party and country increasingly defined by right-wing extremism. It might all be worth it just to see Hank talking Dale down from the QAnon rabbit hole he’s inevitably fallen into. But setting a sequel fifteen years later creates so many other possibilities, too, for the series that Judge always saw as “more social than political.” We’d be far more interested in catching up with Hank’s awkward, yet fully self-actualized teen son Bobby, who would be closing in on thirty and, hopefully, well into his prop comedy career. Meanwhile, Arlen would surely have become only more gentrified and unrecognizable to Hank; by now the Mega Lo Mart would qualify as a quaint local business. And eventually, you just know Hank has to bump into—and utterly destroy—Elon Musk.
Matthew McConaughey Raises Nearly $8 Million in Storm Relief With the Help of His Celebrity Friends
With any luck, those “hot negotiations” will all be completed and the production ramped up in time for Hank Hill to grapple with a Texas under the control of one Matthew McConaughey. The Austin actor recently declared he “would be a fool not to” consider running for governor, after so many months of essentially campaigning for free. And he further shored up those statesman bona fides with last week’s We’re Texas benefit, which ended up raising nearly $8 million in relief for Texans still sifting through the wreckage of February’s blackouts. McConaughey hosted the entire two-hour affair in front of an appropriately gaudy Texas flag and from behind his newly omnipresent, Gloria Steinem-esque aviators, setting up livestreamed performances from homegrown artists including Willie Nelson, Kelly Clarkson, George Strait, Kacey Musgraves, Clint Black, Miranda Lambert, Don Henley, Los Lonely Boys, Lyle Lovett, Gary Clark Jr., Khalid, and Post Malone (who even went country for the occasion).
In between, he took video call testimonies from such other famous Texans as Jamie Foxx, Renée Zellweger, Selena Gomez, Megan Thee Stallion, Jennifer Garner, Dr. Phil, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and Woody Harrelson—the last of whom accidentally let it drop that he’ll also be moving to Austin soon, presumably so he can serve as McConaughey’s lieutenant governor. Look, we may be no closer to divining Matthew McConaughey’s actual politics—and we’d all be a lot better off if we stopped mistaking celebrity and cult of personality for genuine leadership. But McConaughey has already shown that he has an uncommon empathy to go with his unflappable charisma, and he clearly has the ability to rally Texans across partisan and pop cultural divides. Imagine what he could do if he actually tried to win this thing.
Lizzo’s New TV Show Goes Looking for a Few Good “Big Grrrls”
Back in August, we wondered what a Lizzo TV show might look like—other than generally “vivacious”—after the Houston pop phenomenon signed a first-look development deal with Amazon’s streaming service. But for all our fanciful musings about Lizzo fighting off fascists in an alternate-history America, or wielding a deadly flute alongside the cast of The Boys, somehow we always knew that the proudly authentic singer would end up hosting a reality show. Deadline reports that Lizzo is executive producing an as-yet-untitled series that will document her eternal hunt for “big grrrls” to join her onstage team, with Lizzo issuing an open call for “full-figured” dancers and models to sign up via her website. Each applicant will be required to submit a short video explaining why they deserve a shot, and to “bring good energy—and that ass.” All submissions of TikTok clips and flat, listless asses will not be considered.
Jamie Foxx Is Coming for the EGOT With a Mike Tyson Series
Even before joining in on We’re Texas, Jamie Foxx has been on a real humanitarian streak of late. Last year saw the Terrell native speaking out against police brutality at Black Lives Matter protests and launching a charity fund for Down syndrome research in honor of his late sister, as well as nurturing the human spirit by starring in Pixar’s Soul and that upcoming movie where he plays a vampire-hunting pool cleaner. But sometimes, Jamie Foxx has to do one just for Jamie Foxx. He’s already collected his Oscar and a Grammy, and now Deadline reports he’ll be gunning for an Emmy by starring as former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson in a new limited series. The project, which boasts Martin Scorsese and Foxx’s Training Day director Antoine Fuqua as executive producers, was originally set up as a feature film, although it’s likely to garner even more attention as a series, where the many ups and downs of Tyson’s violent professional and personal life can be given proper breadth, then chopped up into a more easily digestible format. Now someone just has to make Who Let The Dogs Out? The Musical so Foxx can get his Tony.
Forest Whitaker to Yell at Tom Hardy
Like Jamie Foxx, the Longview-born actor Forest Whitaker has also kept surprisingly busy, considering he’s another Oscar winner in his fifties with nothing left to prove. In addition to starring in Epix’s Godfather of Harlem series, playing Aretha Franklin’s father in the upcoming Respect, and singing his way through Netflix’s Christmas musical Jingle Jangle—all just in the past year—the ever-versatile Whitaker is getting ready to join Tom Hardy in the action thriller Havoc, Deadline reports. The Netflix film from The Raid’s Gareth Evans promises to express Evans’s typically baroque style of guys beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, with Hardy playing a “bruised detective” who battles his way through the criminal underworld in search of a politician’s estranged son. There’s no word yet on who Whitaker will play, whether it’s that aforementioned politician or someone on the wrong side of Hardy’s considerable fists. But rest assured that there will come a time when Whitaker, who normally speaks quietly and deliberately, will suddenly yell very loudly, and even Tom Hardy will find himself cowed.
Clint Eastwood Is Ready to Cry Macho
Promising something equally predictable, yet no less satisfying in its execution, Clint Eastwood will play a washed-up rodeo star in Cry Macho, an adaptation of N. Richard Nash’s 1975 novel of the same name. Bringing Nash’s book to the screen has been a passion project for Eastwood ever since the ’80s, back when he was only about a decade too old to play its late-thirties protagonist, Mike Milo, a failed horse breeder who’s tasked with kidnapping a young boy away from his alcoholic mom in Mexico. The project has passed through several hands since then—at one point, some poor horse was even going to bear the brunt of Arnold Schwarzenegger—but at long last, Eastwood has managed to produce, direct, and star in his own version, due out October 22. Expect lots of grizzled, squinty-eyed wisdom to pass between Eastwood and his young charge as they make their arduous journey across the Texas border toward redemption, as plenty of hard, manly tears are shed along the way.
This Week in Matthew McConaughey
Somehow, organizing and hosting an all-star benefit and seriously entertaining a bid for governor managed to be relatively minor news in McConaughey’s world this past week, all of it supplanted by the word of his imminent return to television—and to one of the roles that first made him famous. Variety reports that McConaughey will star in a series adaptation of John Grisham’s 2020 novel A Time for Mercy, reprising McConaughey’s most beloved non–Lincoln lawyer character, Jake Brigance, a quarter century after 1996’s A Time to Kill. It’s a reunion that’s been fated ever since McConaughey first posted a shot of himself enjoying an advance copy of Grisham’s book, then performed a live reading from it on Grisham’s Facebook page. And in addition to just getting him off Zoom and out of the house, it’s a gig that promises to return Matthew McConaughey to doing what he does best: delivering fiery, folksy monologues that—for the first time in a long while—are about urging fictional people to do the right thing. That’s something just about everybody can get behind.