12:29pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Simpsons' to Feature Live Segment With Homer in May
Fox's The Simpsons is going live.
The network announced Monday that it will feature Homer Simpson taking questions during a live portion of its May 15 episode.
The installment will feature Homer — voiced by Dan Castellaneta — discussing topical subjects and responding to fan questions for the final three minutes of its regularly scheduled episode. The segment will air live on both the East and West Coast broadcasts.
Showrunner Al Jean told THR that the series — which spends months prepping its animation — will use a motion capture technology in which Homer's voice and motions will be depicted in an animated scene talking about things he "could only be saying live on that day."
"As far as I know, this is the first time that's been done by any animated show," Jean said, noting the live bit works with the theme of the episode, which explores improv comedy. "And Dan is a great improviser."
For the time being, Fox is urging fans to tweet their questions using the hashtag #HomerLive beginning Sunday, May 1, through Wednesday, May 4.
The new element comes as broadcast networks continue to explore live broadcasts in a bid to prompt viewers to watch in real time. Live productions — including Fox's Grease Live — have been accomplishing that in spades.