FX Networks, the group who purchased the exclusive rerun cable rights to The Simpsons for new channel FXX for close to a billion dollars last fall, has made public their plans on how to best run 552 episodes of the Fox animated classic, which was reported by Broadcasting & Cable in Monday’s editions.
Unfortunately, the Simpsons article was under a paywall, meaning only subscribers with access could read it.
But never fear! T Dog Media is here and obtained a copy of the article, and all the juicy details with it. Here’s what’s on tap:
– FXX plans to launch The Simpsons on Aug. 21 with all 552 epiosdes shown in chronological order through Labor Day. The marathon also includes the 2007 Simpsons Movie, which has never been seen in syndication.
– In news likely to make some of the show’s fans unhappy, FXX plans to run post-season 16 episodes in primetime (2005 to the present), while pre-season 16 episodes (1989-2005) would run in yet-to-be determined early fringe, prime access, and late fringe time slots. Many fans of the show prefer the “classic era” episodes of The Simpsons to the more recent ones.
But there is good news for “classic era” fans of the show: the series’ first twenty seasons are being remastered and color corrected into a 16×9 high definition widescreen format.
FXX plans to program 12 out of the 22 hours on its primetime schedule to run Homer and Co, meaning 24 episodes a week.
– FXX also plans to air eight episodes of Simpsons episodes on Sundays, (roughly from 3 to 7 p.m.), leading up to the new episode airing on Fox. The episode airing on Fox would be tied to the reruns – so for example, if the new Fox episode is about Mr. Burns, FXX would air the eight best episode with Homer’s boss as central to the storyline.
– Advertisers are the centerpiece of FXX’s airings of The Simpsons, and is planning to cater to their every whim. After all, off-network episodes of the show have not been available to national advertisers since 1999, when the minute of barter time carved out for them in syndication went away.
One of the proposals under consideration is an advertiser sponsoring “theme weeks”, or a “theme night”. For example, since The Simpsons have traveled a lot over their 25-year run, an advertiser could sponsor a week of their road adventures. Gatorade could sponsor a night of sports-themed episodes. Hallmark could sponsor a week or a night of episodes where Homer has pissed off Marge (and believe me, there have been many.) And so on.
– Though FXX won’t have any problem doing so, the net is looking for advertisers to sponsor its marathon to launch the series and to strike multi-year deala for the digital content, which includes streaming of episodes, which FXX has exclusive rights to.
– Regardless of what seasons FXX run, the sale of The Simpsons is good news for fans of the show (for those who can at least get FXX) whose seen local syndicated airings either cut back or eliminated all together. In Chicago recently, My50 eliminated the 9 p.m. weeknight double-run and weekend runs of the series due to low ratings and is only airing the series at 10 p.m. weeknights. (The 6 p.m. airing on sister station WFLD remains.)