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What's Going to Come After The Simpsons?

by Charles Kenny
June 19, 2013 5:00 AM
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It's the great unknown question of the last 10 years or so that remains unanswered despite mutliple attempts. The Simpsons is far and away the most successful TV show let alone animated TV show, ever, but what will come after it's departed to the great big TV in the sky?

With 25 seasons under its belt, the show, it's aknowledged, cannot continue into eternity despite the best wishes of FOX executives. Even the realities of the economy were enough to force producers and stars into a pay cut in 2011 in lieu of potential cancellation.

The Simpsons remains the bedrock of FOX's Animation Domination Sunday night block of programming that includes Family Guy and American Dad. Those shows are capturing a different audience however and filler shows masquerading as potential replacements like Sit Down, Shut Up were quickly shunted off the air after dismal ratings.

With FOX hunting for a replacement for over a decade at this point without much success, their options are starting to wither.

So what will eventually take the place of the Simpsons, and more importantly, will it even be animated?

Whose taking bets on a spin-off?

Charles Kenny writes prolifically on his own blog, The Animation Anomaly.

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  • Robert Fiore | June 19, 2013 10:31 PMReply

    Why, Poochie, of course.

  • Jeff | June 19, 2013 10:30 PMReply

    What they SHOULD do is get Futurama and The Critic back on the air.

  • Roberto Severino | June 20, 2013 6:53 AM

    Comedy Central didn't do a good job of promoting and marketing the new Futurama episodes. Shame it got canceled this year. Not as great as the old episodes but still plenty of funny, classic moments!

  • Kurtis Findlay | June 19, 2013 10:16 AMReply

    I think Family Guy was always meant to be the Simpsons replacement. It came at a time the Simpsons seriously looked like it was going to be canceled. In 1998 all of the principle actors threatened to walk if they didn't get a sizable pay raise. FOX threatened to replace them all with other actors. Everyone was unsure of the future of the show and with 10 seasons already under its belt it wouldn't be a surprise if it ended. Family Guy debuted shortly after and FOX pushed it hard. It just so happened that the Simpsons didn't go away and now FOX has two wildly successful shows.

  • Roberto Severino | June 19, 2013 5:48 PM

    An animated example would be Ren and Stimpy, even though we all know the saga and production dilemma behind that show. I remember reading Thad's Sick Little Monkeys book and not only was Nickelodeon happy to be relieved of the burden that the show brought upon them, but a lot of artists who worked on the show were happy that it was coming to an end.

  • Roberto Severino | June 19, 2013 5:44 PM

    Based on that, a lot of great ideas seem to have a shelf life. There's only so much you can do with a particular idea until it starts getting run to the ground and a lot of fans don't like it anymore. Luckily some networks have enough sense to let the creators stop making episodes of television shows when they feel like they've done all they could or when they are completely satisfied, like with The Sopranos or Breaking Bad.

  • Roberto Severino | June 19, 2013 5:36 PM

    I think a lot of diehard Simpsons fans in hindsight wish the show had been cancelled after 10 seasons. It was also a bad idea for FOX to have cancelled Family Guy and Futurama like they did years back. Lots of other people say that Family Guy jumped the shark after it was revived and when Seth MacFarlane began to focus more on American Dad and The Cleveland Show.

  • Roberto Severino | June 19, 2013 9:03 AMReply

    Brubaker is on to something. They might as well make new Simpsons episodes for another 20 years if they have to. The original Doctor Who lasted for about 26 years and the revival series continues to go strong to this day! Simpsons has been on for approximately 23 or 24 years, so they're at least going to continue the series for a couple of more years at least. Then if they do decide to cancel this show, there will be many more imitators until someone comes up with an idea that breaks the mold and starts a new trend in adult animation.

  • GersonK | June 19, 2013 8:46 AMReply

    If S25 is the end, then Family Guy will (gasp) probably get the 8 PM spot and together with Bob's Burgers, some combination of the most prime time ready material from ADHD, American Dad! (if it survives), and reruns of all of the above (and maybe even of recent Simpsons), they'll keep the two hour animated block alive at least another season. If I could tell you how well that would work, I'd be well ahead of most of the people scheduling tv for a living.

    If it keeps going past 2014, then all bets are off.

    Note of course, nothing is going to "replace" The Simpsons any more than there was a band that replaced the Beatles. It's just something will get their timeslot.
    If they pull out another renewal past the 2013-14 season, then you may as well ask "what will I be eating for lunch the day The Simpsons gets cancelled?" It's difficult enough predicting one season ahead, but guessing what FOX will have going at the as yet undetermined point when the Simpsons ends is nearly impossible.

    Suffice it to say, it won't actually be replaced, any more than the Beatles were replaced. There's just going to be a show that gets Sunday 8 PM and the unfavorable comparisons that will come with it.

  • Dillon Harris | June 19, 2013 6:00 AMReply

    I think The Simpsons will always replace itself.It has before.A lot of the shows writers today are younger and I feel that it will go in forever,like Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes.It's easy to hire new writers and the characters are easy to impersonate for new voice actors when the current ones are too old.The show has that kind of everlasting feel,people can happily watch it as a family and laugh,and no one wants someone like that to leave.

  • Zach | June 21, 2013 5:50 PM

    The problem with that is that the original voice actors are somewhat well-known and I think people would have a hard time accepting new voices doing the roles even if they were pretty good imitations. I could see the show going off for a few years before FOX does some kind of reboot or something with new people though... which I probably wouldn't enjoy.

  • Charles Brubaker | June 19, 2013 5:15 AMReply

    Honestly, I can imagine that Fox will continue to have new "Simpsons" airing for another 20 years.

    I mean, "Sazae San" has been airing in Japan for more than 40 years. It's definitely possible.

  • Charles Kenny | June 19, 2013 4:08 PM

    Indeed, Charles. The question is, can the Simpsons 'evolve' smoothly enough without jumping the shark? My mind wanders back to the new HD opening added a few years ago. It was a radical shift from the original and betrayed more about the show itself than it perhaps should have.

    Any show hoping to transcend being pigeon-holed in time needs to stay relevant and update itself subtely enough than one does not notice it while it occurs.

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