The Simpsons sometimes seems like it's been on the air forever, and it has the unique bragging right that some of its fanbase wasn't even alive yet when it first debuted back in 1989. The animated series hasn't run out of new stories for Homer Simpson and Co. yet, and the current season, Season 28, is going strong. Fox clearly has a lot of faith the series, as evidenced by the latest announcement about its future. The Simpsons has officially be renewed for two more seasons, which will result in the breaking of a huge TV record.
Fox gave the renewal order for Seasons 29 and 30 of The Simpsons. The order will raise the episode count up to 669 episodes. By the end of Season 30, The Simpsons' episode count will have surpassed that of Gunsmoke, which only produced 635 installments. The 669 episodes will make The Simpsons the longest-running scripted series in the history of television, according to Deadline. The entire crew of key voice actors has been confirmed as returning, so we don't have to worry about a handful of characters being killed off or written out over the next couple of years. Unless such a twist would hilarious, of course, in which case The Simpsons might go for it.
There was actually a time not so long ago that executive producer Al Jean thought that the show was getting the ax from Fox. He revealed earlier this year that Season 23 was a dire time for The Simpsons. The network had cut the budget by a whopping 25%, and the production team was asked to designate a final episode. The series could have come to an end in 2012 after 508 episodes. 508 would still have been an impressive number for any scripted series, but it would have fallen well short of the Gunsmoke record.
Although the ratings for Season 28 haven't been phenomenal, they've been steady and solid enough that Fox evidently feels very confident in another two years of the show. The numbers for Season 28 so far have averaged to 7.2 million viewers on various platforms, including Hulu and FoxNow in addition to broadcast. Sunday Funday just wouldn't feel the same without The Simpsons as anchor, and fans should be relieved that they won't have to worry about the show's future for another two seasons.
Interestingly, The Simpsons will soon break another record, but it won't be on Fox. Cable channel FXX is set to air an epic marathon that will run for 13 days and 600 episodes. The marathon will start at noon on Thanksgiving day and not come to an end until midnight on December 6. In another couple of years, FXX may be able to run a marathon closer to 700 episodes.