Renewed through 2017; seasons 27 and 28 on tap
In a move certain to stir debate, Fox has given a huge vote of confidence to long-running animated comedy The Simpsons, which renewed the series through 2017, taking it through its 28th season.
By the time the deal is up, The Simpsons would have produced 625 episodes – only ten short of Gunsmoke, which produced the most of any prime-time scripted series at 635 and has passed Law and Order, which produced 456 episodes.
Season-to-date, The Simpsons is averaging a 2.7 live-plus-same day adults 18-49 rating, even from a year ago. However, the higher rating average comes from inflated football lead-ins earlier in the season – a recent episode earned only a 1.3 L+SD rating. On the other hand, The Simpsons is one of the more time-shifted shows on television, scoring huge gains once DVR usage is factored in.
In addition, The Simpsons also experienced a bit of a resurgence last summer when FXX aired a marathon featuring every show ever produced. During the prime-time portion on some nights, classic Simpsons episodes drew a million or so viewers a night, beating several prime-time cable shows.
And due to its heritage status, The Simpsons can still command six figures in ad revenue.
Many fans feel the series has slipped in quality over the years – it depends who you ask when the decline began, or if still a fan of the show, if a decline ever started. Yours truly wrote a scathing review of an episode which rewrote the series’ backstory during the 2007-08 season.
The Simpsons’ is the latest veteran show to get a vote of confidence. A few weeks ago, CBS Television Distribution renewed Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune through the 2017-18 seasons, taking the syndicated game shows into their 34th and 35th seasons, respectively – yes, those two shows have lasted longer than The Simpsons.
Other shows currently on the air longer than The Simpsons (excluding newscasts and sports) include 60 Minutes, 20/20, and Cops.
If you include shows out of prime-time, The Simpsons are behind Entertainment Tonight, Face The Nation, Nightline, The Price Is Right, all four existing soap operas, and Meet The Press, which has been on the air since 1947.
In a press release, Homer Simpson – yes that Homer Simpson, noted “I’ve outlasted Letterman, Jon Stewart and ‘McDreamy,’ because I have something they don’t: a costly 200-donut-a-day addiction.”
Don’t celebrate just yet Homer – you still haven’t outlasted Jonathan Brandmeier and Steve Dahl.