Red alert! Fox Corporation, the parent company of the Fox network and Fox News, is currently engaged in a $1.6 billion legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems that could potentially destroy the entertainment titan and bring an end to The Simpsons as we know it.
The Dominion suit alleges warped priorities led Fox News to amplify defamatory and highly illogical claims regarding the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, causing “diminution of enterprise value” for the electronic voting machine manufacturer. Text messages and emails gathered from Fox News employees in discovery were recently made public, exposing management’s reluctance to reign in their defiant fleet of star anchors, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, lest the network incur the wrath of conservative viewers. Rupert Murdoch, one of the founders of the news channel, privately admitted “maybe Sean and Laura went too far” in letting their impulses drive coverage.
Fox News has long been a ratings crusher and cable star dating back to its launch in 1996, but times are changeling. Data shows traditional linear television is in steady decline as more people cut the cord, and any resistance to this trend is likely futile. After the election, Fox News’s monthly ratings fell behind its longtime nemesis CNN for the first time in decades, a stunning feat suggesting the normally unphased network may need to augment its programming strategy in order to cling on to as many viewers as possible. The next generation of competitors, a pack lead by Newsmax, threatens to beam away Fox’s fracturing audience by catering to a menagerie of Q supporters and other fringe groups. Although it remans the number one news network, the primary directive for Fox News will be to try courting the pro-insurrection crowd while not alienating mainstream conservatives or advertisers, a balancing act of terrific sensitivity that could develop into a no-win scenario. Adding to the chaos, lobbying chief O’Brien departed the company earlier this month, leaving Fox without the experienced Washington voyager as it potentially enters a strange new world of tricky political terrain.
The fate of The Simpsons is greatly linked to Fox’s fortunes, as it is reliant on the network bearing the costs of its production. I’m no diviner, but if Fox News falls into darkness and Fox Corporation suddenly finds itself strapped for cash, the animated series could be headed to the great beyond. Disney purchased the motion picture studio behind The Simpsons from Fox in 2019, so under the rules of acquisition they would have the option to take it elsewhere or make it a Disney+ original series, were the Fox network to cancel the show. However, The Simpsons has enjoyed a long and prosperous life on Fox, a historical feat unlikely to be replicated, and if that day comes the crew may simply decide it’s a good day for the series to die.
Woo-hoo! After more than 25 years off the air, the Fox Network is reviving The Simpsons from Gracie Films and 20th Television Animation for two additional seasons, with creator Matt Groening and executive producer James L. Brooks set to return, as well as the original cast.
Set in the fictional town of Springfield, North Takoma, The Simpsons follows the life of Homer Simpson, a dim-witted nuclear safety inspector and his wacky family. The Emmy-winning series ran for eight seasons on Fox and is a top performer on Disney+.
Dan Castellaneta will reprise his role as Homer, while Julie Kavner will be back as his wife Marge, Nancy Cartwright as Bart, Yeardley Smith as Lisa, Hank Azaria as Moe, and Harry Shearer as Mr. Burns.
Marci Proietto, EVP of 20th Television Animation, said in a statement, “After 181 episodes of The Simpsons, we couldn’t be more proud to continue its legacy with one of the most brilliant teams in animation.”
Despite ending in 1997, The Simpsons has continued to be a powerhouse in syndication and a global pop-culture phenomenon. Previous attempts to reboot the series were met with stiff resistance by Groening and Brooks, citing quality concerns.
The Simpsons is the latest Fox series to be revived. New seasons of Futurama, King of the Hill, and Woops! are also in production. [Deadline]
(Thomas Hawk on Flickr)
Universal Parks News Today reports that construction walls have been put up outside The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida. The ride itself is still open, but a statue featuring the Simpson family inside a ride vehicle that stood near the attraction’s entrance has been removed.
What’s going on??? What could this mean??? I have multiple theories:
- They’re adding a new Simpson
- The statue was abducted in a brazen heist by notorious crimethief Carmen Sandiego
- They’re refurbishing it
- It turns out that for the past 15 years they didn’t actually have a license to use the Simpsons IP, and Disney sent them a cease & desist
- In the actual ride’s storyline, Maggie does not ride along with the rest of the family, so maybe they’re finally rectifying this glaring continuity error
- A 10 year old boy cut off Bart Simpson’s head to impress three older kids, and Universal removed the whole thing so young children wouldn’t be traumatized
- Whoever stole the Buzzy animatronic from EPCOT is back to their old tricks
- Something involving wokeness
- The statue is being held for ransom by an extremist group demanding the return of the Back to the Future ride
Whatever the case may be, let’s hope it returns soon. Having the Simpsons near the sign that says The Simpsons Ride is essential to the ride’s environmental storytelling, in that people need to know who the Simpsons are before they ride their eponymous ride.
The dead speak! Have you ever wondered what Walt Disney, Tupac Shakur, or Cleopatra would think about The Simpsons? Well, wonder no more!
Using the hot new app Historical Figures, I interviewed A.I. simulations of famous folks from history and asked them about their favorite episode of The Simpsons. While some of the responses are surprising, it’s a little disappointing that they tended to gravitate to the same episodes, which I presume is due to the high volume of “Greatest Simpsons Episodes of All Time” articles on the internet. Some of the figures gave decent reasoning for the choices, others declined to answer, and a few of them just made up episodes. I declined to use “coins” to interview some of the most famous people, but towards the end you’ll notice I used some clever workarounds.
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For many years The Simpsons has delighted the world, and also too has baseball legend Mike Scioscia, so when those two join forces you know you’re in for a good time. After deliberating for hours, all of us here at IN THE NEWS have determined the definitive ranking of all Simpsons episodes featuring Mike Scioscia as a guest star.
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Chris Ledesma, who served as music editor of The Simpsons for decades, has died at the age of 64. His passing was announced with a tribute card at the end of last night’s episode, “My Life as a Vlog.”
Ledesma had worked on The Simpsons from the start of the show until his retirement last May, working closely alongside the show’s longtime composer Alf Clausen. According to Wikisimpsons, he is credited on 735 episodes, along with the Disney shorts and the soundtracks.
In 2011, he launched a blog, Simpsons Music 500, where he provided a behind-the-scenes look at the show. There, he’d delve into production minutiae, such as this post about music spotting or this one about scoring sessions, becoming an invaluable resource for fans. He also used the blog to regularly answer Simpsons fans’ questions about music cues, and this generosity extended to his Twitter account. I recall he did a livestream prior to scoring session at least once, where he highlighted some of the players in the orchestra, although it doesn’t appear to be archived anywhere.
Writer/producer Carolyn Omine eulogized him in a tweet: “Chris Ledesma was a sweet man who loved his job and was really, really good at it. We miss him.”
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EDITOR’S NOTE: The following review of the latest Simpsons Disney+ short, The Simpsons meet the Bocellis in “Feliz Navidad,” was produced by the ChatGPT AI text generator using the prompt “write a blog post about a story where Homer Simpson meets Andrea Bocelli and assign a numerical rating from 1-10.”
Homer Simpson and Andrea Bocelli may seem like an unlikely pair, but in this fictional story, the two of them meet and form a unique bond.
The story begins with Homer walking home from work and stumbling upon a beautiful opera performance in the town square. As he listens to the singer on stage, he is mesmerized by the talent and approaches the singer to compliment him. The singer introduces himself as Andrea Bocelli, and Homer is in awe of the famous opera singer standing before him.
Homer and Andrea strike up a conversation, and Andrea invites the Simpson family to his upcoming concert in Springfield. The Simpson family attends the concert, and Homer is blown away by Andrea’s talent. After the concert, Andrea invites the Simpson family backstage for a private meet and greet, and the two families spend the evening chatting and getting to know each other.
This fictional story is heartwarming and inspiring, and it showcases the power of music to bring people together. The character development is strong, and the interactions between Homer and Andrea are well-written and engaging. The story also has a satisfying ending, with Homer grateful for the unexpected encounter and the memories it has created.
Overall, I would rate this story a 9 out of 10 and highly recommend it to fans of The Simpsons and Andrea Bocelli. It is a delightful and uplifting tale that reminds us that even the most unlikely people can form meaningful connections and relationships.
Simpsons showrunner Al Jean’s Twitter account was hijacked last night by a nefarious cyberscoundrel or perhaps a rogue nation-state. The verified account was edited to impersonate Art Blocks, an NFT art project that has sold millions. Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like earlier, courtesy of comedian Friz Frizzle:
When contacted outside of Twitter, Jean confirmed the hijacking, saying “I got a text notification and it was gone,” and urged people to update their passwords.
The impostor Al Jean retweeted several artists involved with Art Blocks and the actual Art Blocks Twitter account, before announcing that a collection of digital squiggles by the artist “Snowfro” was now live. Eventually the avatar was removed, the display name was changed back to “Al Jean,” and the account was turned private. The account follows me, so I’m still able to see the impostor’s tweets, which as of this writing have yet to be deleted.
The sudden shift in Jean’s posting style from hyping upcoming episodes to hawking crypto art did not go unnoticed. Former showrunner Bill Oakley quoted a tweet about it and added “what the hell.” “al jean got h4cked by some nft shitheads :/” tweeted Spiker Monster, a fanartist who recently had his designs featured in a couch gag. Others have noted that there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to report a hijacked account to Twitter.
We’ve had some fun with Al Jean’s tweeting in the past, but he’s a nice guy who regularly engages with fans and shares peeks at upcoming Simpsons stuff, so it’s dismaying to see him join the 37% of Americans who have had their social media profiles hacked (at least according to NordVPN).
Unfortunately, this might be the worst possible time to get hacked on Twitter (well, not that there’s a good time, mind you) as things appear to be chaotic at the social media giantess. Newly minted conquistador Elon Musk is said to be firing 50% of the company’s employees very soon, which presumably includes people on the security team. Furthermore, Musk plans to start charging famous people and organizations for the blue checkmark symbol that indicates their accounts have been verified as being the genuine article, which has already led to phishing campaigns. Non-notable people who pony up $8 a month for a Twitter Blue subscription plan will also get the coveted blue checkmark without the hassle of getting their identities authenticated, which defeats the original purpose of the checkmark and will almost certainly sow more confusion and impersonation scams down the line.
Luckily for Jean, Musk guest starred in a Simpsons episode back in 2015, so maybe he can get ahold of him directly.
Content consumers were aghast last month when Warner Bros. Discovery suddenly removed many beloved animated series from its streaming service HBO Max and cancelled the nearly completed $90 million film Batgirl, locking them away in the studio’s iconic water tower like a certain trio of animated maniacs. Many were quick to point the proverbial finger at CEO David Zaslav, who is as focused on cutting costs as the Batman villain Zsasz is on slashing throats. Worryingly, it seems not even The Simpsons is safe from his tyrannical purge.
Suddenly, with only weeks of warning, 18 Simpsons episodes were removed from Hulu over the weekend – vanished into the ether, perhaps never to be seen again. These episodes comprised the bulk of the show’s thirty-third season, including the Emmy-nominated “Pixelated and Afraid.” It remains unclear just how Zaslav masterminded this feat, particularly as the show is produced by a rival studio and WarnerMedia sold off its stake in Hulu in 2019. What is clear is that derailing Infinity Train and closing up shop on Close Enough weren’t enough to satisfy Zaslav. Following in the footsteps of Judge Doom, he will not rest until every toon is eradicated. The creative community should be on high alert now that his reach is no longer confined to his own entertainment conglomerate.
18 episodes may not seem like much, and some of those episodes definitely sucked, but people spent a lot of time and effort making them and they deserve to have the fruits of their labor available for people to watch. Anyone seeking a legal means of viewing those 18 eradicated Simpsons episodes will simply have no choice but to purchase them from digital marketplaces, or wait until October 5, when the entire season is added to Disney+ as per licensing agreements.
(The Walt Disney Company)
On Friday, The Simpsons held its second-ever panel at Disney’s D23 Expo, moderated by voice actress Yeardley Smith. A press release for the panel touted “a surprise so shocking it can’t even be announced in press release form!” Simpsons simps hoping for a big announcement of some kind – a new movie? A spin-off? A new game? The Ullman shorts? Cancellation??? – unfortunately had their dreams denied. Here’s a recap of the event.
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