FOX NEWS

simpsons rich

Scrappy cable underdog FXX landed a major deal with its fellow 21st Century Fox subsidiaries 20th Century Fox Television and Twentieth Television (which are different companies, somehow…?) for the exclusive cable and streaming rights to The Simpsons for ten years, and now a bunch of rich people are going to get richer, hooray! The deal is valued at $750 million, making it the largest off-network sale ever.

FXX is a terribly-named spinoff of FX that launched two months ago. It airs comedy shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, reruns of Parks & Recreation, and who knows what else. Next August, they’ll have every episode of The Simpsons. So many, they don’t quite know what to do with them:

FXX is expected to stack six to eight episodes on one or two nights, probably in thematic packages, rather than air them across the week as in traditional syndication.

Hey, I already made things easy for them! Imagine a whole night of those dumb trilogy episodes where historical/fictional figures are replaced with Simpsons characters.

Additionally, every episode will be available streaming on demand:

Deal also calls for the vast archive of “Simpsons” segs to be available on VOD via the soon-to-launch authenticated FXNow mobile viewing app — which is sure to be a draw for the service as “Simpsons” segs have never been widely distributed online and have never been on any SVOD platform.

Well, not legally – in a weird coincidence, the internet’s most popular Simpsons streaming site shut down just a few weeks ago. Naturally, to use FXNow you’ll have to prove you’re a cable subscriber and not one of those freeloading hippie cord-cutter types. Meanwhile, local stations have run out of good seasons to air:

Most local stations have used up all of their allotted runs of older seasons of the show, even as they get access to the most recent episodes after the conclusion of each season on the Fox network.

Haw haw, nobody wants the newer episodes.

Harry Shearer is bitter because the official press release about the deal names eleven executives – John Landgraf, Chuck Saftler, Gary Newman, Dana Walden, Greg Meidel, Steve MacDonald, James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, Al Jean, Chris Antola, and Lori Bernstein – and zero cast members. Shearer and the rest of the cast won’t get to share in the profits, and neither will the animators, who continue to deal with pay reductions, shortened production schedules, and longer layoffs.

[Variety]

NEWS BRIEFS

police dog

  • The sleuths at Bleeding Cool, hot off the heels of their Bapper discovery, noticed that Matt Groening recently bought the domain lifeinhell.tv, which could only mean one thing: Groening is moving to the islands of Tuvalu, which owns and operates the .tv domain. [Bleeding Cool]
  • The Awl has a good piece about the Simpsons-themed area at Universal Orlando (does it have a name?) and the “Experience Economy” that reflects my ambivalence to the whole thing. [The Awl]
  • Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson in Parks & Recreation, casually mentioned that he recorded a part for The Simpsons, a show he’d been “ape-shit” about for a couple decades. [A.V. Club]
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    SCULLY DUGGERY

    Mike ScullySplitsider has another typically enlightening interview with a Simpsons writer, this time with the generally-reviled former showrunner Mike Scully. He talks about writing for the Golden Globes, his occasional acting on Parks & Recreation (I didn’t know his character had a name), and his short-lived series The Pitts (I only remember Fox’s obnoxious promos for it, which focused primarily on the girl getting a pipe stuck in her head and saying “I’ve got a freakin’ pipe stuck in my head!” or something similiar. Or maybe that was his other show, The Mullets, who knows).

    The stuff about his tenure on The Simpsons is interesting – he had the choice of doing either that or Coach (I wonder what the inevitable “Craig T. Nelson gets leprosy” episode would’ve been like), met Conan right before he got sucked away by NBC, and rose from being a 1-day college dropout intimidated by the Ivy League-infested writers’ room to running it just a few years later.

    He also lectures a bit about the importance of putting characters before jokes, which is a little galling coming from the guy who brought us panda rape and jockey elves. But he does give an apology, of sorts:

    It’s funny going back and doing these DVD commentaries 10 years later. You get a chance to relive every bad decision you made. There are times when you wish you could fast-forward the DVD and just say, “Sorry folks, I don’t know what I was thinking on that one.”

    Finally, some closure. [Splitsider]

    WRITER WATCH

    greg danielsFormer Conan O’Brien roommate and Simpsons writer extraordinaire Greg Daniels (“Homer Badman,” “Lisa’s Wedding,” “Bart Sells His Soul”), who left the show before it got bad to co-create King of the Hill, then the American version of The Office, then Parks & Recreation, is getting back into animation, it looks like. NBC appears to be interested in prime-time animation, so they’ve signed Daniels to a “major production deal… [that] will include various programming but emphasize animated series.”

    Of course, Fox is the only broadcast network in the past quarter-century to have had found success with prime-time cartoons – it currently has five series on the air, with more waiting in the wings. Other networks try, occasionally, with little success so far; the last two animated series to air on NBC were Father of the Pride (they’re just like a normal family, except they’re lions!) and Stressed Eric (America loves to watch cartoon characters get nervous breakdowns!). Mayhaps Daniels, with his amazing track record, can reverse the trend??? [AP via Deseret News]

    EXCLUSIVE

    After finding out former Simpsons writer David M. Stern (Bart Gets an F, Kamp Krusty) developed Ugly Americans (watch it!! it’s cool), I got curious and decided to find out what some other ex-Simpsons people are up to. DISCLAIMERS/CAVEATS: 1. I basically only looked at wikipedia and imdb, so this could be rife with inaccuracies, etc. 2. With some exceptions, I don’t care about anyone who joined the show after it got bad or only wrote like one episode 3. This is essentially limited to movies/tv, since the internet assumes people fell off the face of the earth if they’re not doing something for mass audiences

    Richard Appel (writer): Showrunner for The Cleveland Show

    Wes Archer (director): Was working on The Goode Family until it got cancelled; unclear what he’s currently doing

    Brad Bird (director): Doing a live-action movie for Pixar (zuh????)

    Daniel Chun (writer): Now writing for The Office

    David S/X. Cohen (writer): His beloved baby Futurama returns in June on Comedy Central

    Jonathan Collier (writer): MIA

    Jennifer Crittenden (writer): Producing mysterious project called What’s Your Number?

    Greg Daniels (writer): Co-creations The Office and Parks and Recreation still going strong

    Brent Forrester (writer): Writer for The Office

    Ken Keeler (writer): Nerding it up at Futurama

    Jay Kogan (writer): Executive producer for some supernatural live-action Nickelodeon show called The Troop; writing an adaptation of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

    Lauren MacMullan (director): MIA

    Jeff Martin (writer/clown): MIA

    George Meyer (writer): Occasionally contributes to The New Yorker

    Bill Oakley (showrunner, seasons 7 – 8): Writing stuff from Portland

    Conan O’Brien (writer): Legally prohibited from being funny on television

    Jim Reardon (director): Presumably still Pixarin’ it up

    Mike Reiss (showrunner, seasons 3-4): While technically still a producer for The Simpsons (I think??), he’s been doing a bunch of other projects like writing children’s books, computer-animated movies, and the critically-unacclaimed My Life in Ruins

    David M. Stern (writer): Developed Ugly Americans, which recently debuted on Comedy Central

    Mike Scully (showrunner, seasons 9-12): Writer on Parks & Recreation

    John Swartzwelder (writer): Still cranking out funny books from his secret underground lair

    Sam Simon (executive producer/showrunner, seasons 1-2): Doing some poker thing

    Jon Vitti (writer): Co-wrote an upcoming movie starring Steve Carell; currently working on something called “Boo U.”

    Josh Weinstein (showrunner, seasons 7-8): MIA??? Wikipedia says he’s a producer on Futurama (again), but I’m not sure if I believe that

    Frank Welker (voice actor, Santa’s Little Helper): Most recent voice credit is “Additional Nuts Voice”

    Lona Williams (beauty pageant winner/writing assistant): MIA

    Wallace Wolodarsky (writer): Voiced an opossum in Fantastic Mr. Fox; adapting a Philip K. Dick story into a Disney cartoon