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'The Boondocks' returns, but without creator Aaron McGruder

'The Boondocks' returns, but without creator Aaron McGruder
Huey Freeman, left, and brother Riley Freeman (both voiced by Regina King) in "The Boondocks." (Sony Pictures Television)

"The Boondocks," the edgy animated series based on Aaron McGruder's comic strip about 10-year-old black militant Huey Freeman and his gangsta-wanna-be younger brother Riley living in the suburbs with their grandfather, is returning April 21 for a fourth and final season on Adult Swim.

However, there's a catch. McGruder, who created the series and was its key creative force, is not along for the ride.

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A press release from Sony Pictures Television, which produces the series, noted that the new season "was produced without the involvement of Aaron McGruder, when a mutually agreeable production schedule could not be determined."

Representatives for McGruder could not be reached for comment.

The announcement comes as a surprise: Since launching the strip in 1999, McGruder, who is developing a live-action comedy "Black Jesus" for Adult Swim, has been extremely protective of the property and the Boondocks characters.

The Peabody Award-winning series has been a hot button for Adult Swim since its premiere. The Rev. Al Sharpton and others lashed out at the relentless use of the "N-word" in episodes.

McGruder has taken on several iconic African American figures in the show and angered Tyler Perry when he made fun of the filmmaker in an episode that portrayed a Perry-like figure as a closeted cross-dresser who used religion to hide his lifestyle.

The series last aired in 2010.

Returning to the new season as the voices of Huey and Riley is Regina King, and John Witherspoon is  returning as the voice of Robert "Granddad" Freeman.

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