First, a brief musical interlude: “They’ll never stop The Simpsons! Have no fears, we’ve got stories for years, like Marge becomes a robot, Maybe Moe gets a cell phone, has Bart ever owned a bear? Or, how ’bout a crazy wedding? Where something happens and doo doo doo doo doo… Sorry for the clip show. Have no fears, we’ve got stories for years!” – “Gump Roast” (Season 13, Episode 17)
That’s right – Fox is standing by the longest-running primetime scripted show on television, having picked up perennial animated sitcom The Simpsons for not one but two additional seasons. The pickup will see the series run through season 28, if you can believe that. It’s not the first time that Fox has seen fit to renew The Simpsons for more than one season at a time – back in 2011, after negotiating new deals with the primary voice cast, the network also ordered two seasons in one fell swoop.
Picking The Simpsons up at this early time means that there will be no break in the production process between seasons. By the time creators Al Jean and Matt Groening have fulfilled this latest season order, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie will have bickered, bantered and misadventured their way through a whopping 625 episodes. Even after all these years, The Simpsons is still a solid performer for Fox, currently averaging 6.2 million viewers and a 2.9 rating in the key adults 18-49 demo.
Fox’s animated lineup is very sturdy at the moment – the network has already renewed Bob’s Burgers and Family Guy for another go. They are also expected to announce the rest of its returning lineup this week, but Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Last Man on Earth, New Girl, Sleepy Hollow, Empire (DUH) and Gotham are all already guaranteed to return in the fall. Still on the cancellation bubble: Bones, The Following, The Mindy Project, Backstrom, Bordertown and Weird Loners. Out of those, the writing is on the wall for Backstrom and Weird Loners, both freshman shows that didn’t catch fire, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if The Following was marked for execution.
We’ll keep you posted on all the renewals and cancellations this week, but take heart in the fact that The Simpsons will still be here for you when times are tough and only Homer’s love of donuts can make the world seem pure again.