11:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'The Simpsons' Scores Two-Season Renewal at Fox
As Homer Simpson would say, "Woo-hoo!"
The Simpsons is staying put at Fox, with the network handing out a two-season renewal for TV's longest-running series. The pickup takes the animated family comedy through spring 2021 and its 32nd season.
The two-season order comes after the Charlie Collier-led so-called "New Fox" broadcasting network secured a reduced licensing fee for the series from producers 20th Century Fox Television. The pricey series is currently averaging a 1.9 rating among adults 18-49. The deal arrives as 20th TV is poised to move to Disney under Fox's $72 billion asset sale.
Reducing the licensing fee was considered paramount for the renewal. The Simpsons has been a loss leader for the network but generates sizable profits for the studio. But with 20th TV moving to Disney, the financials had to be more attractive for the broadcast network to continue to invest in the series. (Fox's Family Guy is also facing a similar dilemma as it, too, is owned by 20th TV and is up for renewal this season.)
The two-season order gives pending owner Disney time to decide what it wants to do with The Simpsons. Should Disney opt to move Homer, Marge and company to a different network, it would allow the company to negotiate what could be a billion-dollar new broadcast, cable and streaming pact(s) for The Simpsons for the first time since the show launched back in 1989 — when Fox was an upstart fourth broadcast network and HBO was best known for Tales From the Crypt.
The Simpsons is the first series to be renewed at Fox for the 2019-2020 broadcast season. The series long ago topped Gunsmoke and holds the record for the most number of a scripted series ever. By the end of its current 30th season, it will have aired more than 660 episodes. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and showrunner Al Jean executive produce The Simpsons.