The Simpsons has been renewed by Fox for a 31st and 32nd season, which will bring them to a record-shattering 713 episodes by the end of the deal. “Woo hoo! 32 Seasons!” Homer Simpson said in a statement. “Watch your back Meet the Press.”
And while they’re likely to never catch up to the 70 season run of Meet The Press, The Simpsons is still the longest running scripted prime-time series in the history of American television. They pulled ahead of Gunsmoke in April of 2018, though the classic Western was an hour long for much of its 20 year run and thus has still created far more hours of television than The Simpsons.
The Simpsons began its life as a series of animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in April 1987. It became its own series on Fox in December 1989 and quickly became one of the fledgling network’s signature hits, spawning a seemingly endless stream of t-shirts, stuffed animals and other bits of merchandise that generated a fortune for Fox and the show’s creators.
Ratings are down significantly down from the early days of the show and many fans say it has been a steep creative decline for the last two decades, but it still reliably pulls in between 3 and 8 million viewers per episode. The voice actors behind the core characters are also still around, even though Harry Shearer – who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Waylon Smithers and many others – nearly left in 2015 following a pay dispute.
The show sparked considerable controversy last year when comedian Hari Kondabolu released the documentary The Problem with Apu, which chronicled the pain that the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon has caused for him and other Indians. Simpsons creator Matt Groening refused to comment in the movie, but he later told the USA Today that he stood by the character. “I’m proud of what we do on the show,” he said. “And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”