Fox TV renews animated series 'The Simpsons' for 26th season

Reuters

LOS ANGELES, Oct 4 (Reuters) - America's leading animateddysfunctional family "The Simpsons" will be continuing theirantics for a 26th season, the Fox broadcast network said onFriday, cementing the show's status as the longest-runninganimated series in U.S. television history.

"The Simpsons," now in its 25th season, is a staple at Foxtelevision, as its leading family - Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa andMaggie - have become globally recognized figures of popularculture. The show is also the longest-running sitcom andprimetime scripted series in U.S. history.

"For more than a quarter of a century, 'The Simpsons' hascaptured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcendsages, languages and cultures," Kevin Reilly, chairman ofentertainment at Fox broadcasting, said in a statement.

"It's one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I'mlooking forward to yet another landmark season."

In a conference call with reporters last month, ExecutiveProducer Al Jean said one of the show's main characters will diein a forthcoming episode. The death is now scheduled for the26th season.

"This is great; no end in sight, except for one characterwho will die next season," Jean said in response to the show'srenewal.

"The Simpsons," created by Matt Groening, first aired on Foxin 1989 and the popularity of doughnut-loving Homer and hisfamily helped the fledgling network become a major player in theTV industry. The show is broadcast in more than 100 countriesand 50 languages, and has won 28 Primetime Emmy awards and beenawarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The 25th season premiered with "Homerland" on Sunday, aspoof of Showtime thriller "Homeland," drawing in 6.4 millionviewers according to Fox. The Oct. 6 episode is the annualHalloween-themed "Treehouse of Horror," with a special openingcouch gag sequence directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo DelToro.

The series has attracted guest voice stars spanning the fullspectrum of popular culture, from late actress Elizabeth Taylor,astronaut Buzz Aldrin, physicist Stephen Hawking and formerBritish Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Two years ago, the show's future came into jeopardy when thenetwork was unable to reach a payment deal with its principalvoice cast that includes Dan Castellaneta (Homer), NancyCartwright (Bart), and Yeardley Smith (Lisa). Fox and the casteventually came to an agreement.

Fox TV is a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc.

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