Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

FOX in talks for Simpsons Channel

Posted in Opinion, The Simpsons, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on September 18, 2011
I

nstead of Itchy & Scratchy, the Simpsons could soon be watching themselves on their outdated, purple rabbit-ear television.

FOX is reportedly considering launching a 24-hour Simpsons network. Non-stop, ’round-the-clock gut-busting, laugh-out-loud, yellow hilarity–but is there enough for an entire channel dedicated to Homer, Marge and the kids?

Adding Up The Simpsons


22 Seasons on FOX (and counting!)
486 Episodes spanning 178 Hours
15 Seasons on DVD
1000+ Springfieldians
337 Guest Stars as of Season 16
$400,000 Salary of Simpsons voice actors–per episode
27 Primetime Emmys
24 video games from NES to iPhone
2,151st Star on the Walk of Fame
12 7-Eleven’s turned into Kwik-E-Marts
8th -Highest Grossing Film worldwide, taking in $527,068,706
#1 TV Series of the Century as named by TIME magazine


The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom, animated program and primetime scripted television series in America. With 486 episodes spanning 22 seasons and a full-length feature film, they have a lot to choose from.

The Simpsons is one of those shows that you’ll watch on syndication as you flip channels on a Sunday afternoon, even if you’ve seen it before and you know how the episode ends. But a channel based on reruns that have been rerun for 22 years could get tiresome, and quick.

It would be fascinating to learn the viewership for different episodes; classics from the golden era of seasons three through nine may be the most watched while newer episodes from the last several seasons might plummet in ratings.

It seems obvious that the network would run promotions during different months for holiday-themed episodes: October would run Treehouse of Horror marathons, December would air Christmas and Hanukkah episodes, and specific episodes that coincide with other occasions.

B

ut to stay fresh, the network would need to offer some original programming, like Simpsons documentaries or vignettes with writers, producers and voice actors on their favourite episodes, characters, chalkboard and couch gags, guest stars, et cetera. Off the top of my head, the network could run 30-minute to one-hour specials on:

  • Film Homages: Pulp Fiction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Graduate, A Clockwork Orange, The Godfather and Indiana Jones (to name a few)
  • Musical Guest Stars: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Metallica, NSYNC, Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Nugent, The White Stripes, blink-182
  • Professional Athletes: Joe Nameth, Dennis Rodman, Ken Griffy Jr., Elvis Stojko, Tom Brady, Michelle Kwan, Oscar De La Hoya, Tony Hawk
  • Perfectly Cromulent Words in Pop Culture: D’oh!, meh, embiggen, kwyjibo, cheese-eating surrender monkeys
  • überfans Worldwide: A collection of interviews with self-proclaimed biggest Simpsons fans from around the world.
  • Religion in The Simpsons: A special that explores Ned Flanders’ fundamentalist Christianity, Lisa’s soul-searching Buddhism, Apu’s faithful Hinduism, Krusty’s Jewish upbringing and other beliefs in The Simpsons.

They already have themed DVD releases for Hollywood tributes and religious beliefs, so they wouldn’t have to look very hard to compile these specials.

Groening and the rest of FOX could further break down the subcultures, sociology and psychology of Springfield, even to go so far as to analyze the use of Pavlov’s Theory or the Infinite Monkey Theorem in the show. Heck, they could run a full hour of Homer’s annoyed grunts and still get ratings.

T

he trick here is to appeal to all fans at once. A casual fan who hasn’t seen every episode might watch anything on a Simpsons channel, but someone with Comic Book Guy-level Simpsons fandom might skip newer episodes in favour of “The Lemon Tree” or “22 Short Films About Springfield.”

The Simpsons might be enough to lure viewers in, but at some point, that collection of episodes could rerun itself out. If FOX seriously intends to launch a Simpsons channel, prepare some documentary-style shows filled with interviews and history that will appeal to Frink-type nerds, Wiggum-type simpletons and the Simpson-type typical American family.


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