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The Simpsons is staying put at Fox.
The broadcast network has handed out a two-season renewal for the Disney-owned animated veteran from creator Matt Groening. While a pickup for The Simpsons had often been a no-brainer, those discussions have become more challenging after Disney took control of the series a couple of years ago as part of its $72 billion Fox asset deal.
The show’s prior renewal, in 2019, included a reduced licensing fee that helped pave the way for the Fox pickup as The Simpsons has been a loss leader for the network but generates sizable profits for the studio. It’s unclear if Disney further reduced its licensing fee for The Simpsons as part of the new deal.
The two-year renewal also gives 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 or platform, it would allow the company to negotiate what could be a new billion-dollar 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 streaming was not in the vernacular. The Simpsons library is on Disney+; current season episodes are on Disney-owned Hulu.
“It’s a sincere pleasure to announce the season 33 and 34 pickups for The Simpsons. We keep hoping that, eventually, they’ll get it right,” said Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier. “Profound respect for and congratulations to Matt, Jim, Al and the many other wonderful partners working really hard to finally elevate The Tracey Ullman Show. As they say, ‘practice makes perfect.'”
Continuing to rank as the longest-running primetime scripted show in TV history, The Simpsons counts James L. Brooks and showrunner Al Jean among its exec producers. The series, like other animated shows, has begun to course correct and cast Black actors to voice Black characters.
“Original, brilliant, outrageously funny, prophetic … there aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe this genius comedy which continues to entertain viewers of all ages,” said Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television. “Jim Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean lead a team of all-stars who hold such a high bar for themselves and leap over it with each spectacular episode. On behalf of everyone at our studio and the millions of fans of The Simpsons around the world, I want to thank our wonderful partners at Fox for making this a truly great day.”
The Simpsons pickup comes six months after Fox and Disney came to terms on two-season renewals for fellow Sunday animated favorites Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers. All three shows remain on the same renewal track and are picked up through the 2022-23 broadcast season.
Keep track of all the broadcast renewals, cancellations and new series orders with THR’s handy guide.
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