The Simpsons returned for its historic 25th season opener this week, with a parody of Homeland that earned it the number 1 series of the night in the key 18-49 demographic, up 12 percent from last season’s wavering average. Now Fox has announced, via the show’s official Facebook page, that the show will be extended into a 26th season for 2014-2015.
“For more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons has captured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcends ages, languages and cultures,” said Reilly. “This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it’s one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I’m looking forward to yet another landmark season.”
The next episode will be the annual Treehouse of Horror XXIV, with an opening “couch gag” sequence created by Guillermo del Toro, and is expected to attract larger numbers.
Running since 1990, with 28 Emmys, a feature film and and an Oscar nominated short film (The Longest Daycare) under its belt, The Simpsons is the longest running scripted series. Plans for both Futurama and Family Guy crossovers this year are indicative of the landscape that the show created. However, even with the increase in viewers over last season’s average, the show doesn’t have nearly the same popularity that it did in the early days. Critics and fans have argued that the show has been in decline for a number of years, with the popular Dead Homers Society website arguing that the show “bears only the faintest resemblance to our favourite television show of all time. Today it is a hollow shell, over animated, under thought out, and thoroughly mediocre. The sooner it ends the better off we’ll all be.”
The revival of the series may be closely tied to the success of the the app-based game for The Simpsons Tapped Out, available on a range of mobile devices. The “freemium” game is estimated to have earned $50 since its release, and often closely ties events and promotions in-game to plot points in the ongoing series.