It’s shaping up to be a busy fall in Springfield. Not only will The Simpsons feature the death of a regular character in its Sept. 28 season premiere, but also Homer and family will cross over to Family Guy, appearing in that show’s one-hour series premiere (also on Sept. 28). Then in November, an episode of The Simpsons will feature a Futurama crossover.
The Simpsons, already a mainstay in broadcast syndication, gets its first shot at cable syndication when episodes debut on FXX next month. Not bad for a television series entering its 26th season.
Reruns of The Simpsons will kick off on FXX with a 12-day marathon of all 552 episodes in chronological order, plus The Simpsons Movie (6 p.m. Aug. 29), beginning at 10 a.m. Aug. 21, and concluding at midnight Sept. 1.
After that, The Simpsons will air regularly on FXX at multiple times each day along with a weekly eight-episode mini-marathon at 4 p.m. Sunday leading up to the show’s regular 8 p.m. Sunday airing on Fox.
But the bigger deal might be the creation of SimpsonsWorld.com, accessible on the Web and through the authenticated FXNow app and launching in October. FX is still working on deals with cable providers for authentication — Comcast already is signed up, Verizon’s FiOS TV is not yet — that will allow viewers access to every episode 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
A demo showed the expansive power of the app, which allows access to scripts and exploration of Springfield’s characters, locations, and the ability to curate playlists of favorite show clips and quotes.
“Basically with this, I think there’s no reason to do anything else,” Simpsons executive producer Al Jean said. “Just do this app 24 hours a day.”
Jean teased the 26th season premiere on Fox and who the victim might be in the episode titled “Clown in the Dumps.” (Uh-oh, could it be Krusty?)
“One character passes away in the show. The actor who plays the character won an Emmy for that portrayal, and it doesn’t mean you couldn’t see the flashback with the character in a future episode or a ghost,” Jean said.
As for the Family Guy crossover, it was written by the Family Guy writers with the blessing of Jean and Simpsons executive producers Jim Brooks and Matt Groening.
“They have one or two lines out of an hourlong episode that they asked us to tweak,” Family Guy executive producer Rich Appel said. “Other than that, they gave us free rein, and the cast was spectacular.”
(The Family Guy Simpsons episode also includes a cameo from Bob Belcher of Bob’s Burgers.)
So how much longer can The Simpsons go on? At this point Jean sees no end in sight.
“Well, we didn't get nominated for an Emmy this year,” he said. “As an obsessive compulsive, it was 19 years in a row, and I was, like, why not 24, thinking that for the rest of my life. I would say we’ve been so lucky to have such a great run. And, you know, I think it’s going to go on for a while. The ratings are still good. We still enjoy doing it very much. The cast is still on board. So I don’t know. I don’t know when it will end.”
The best TV program of 2014, FX’s Fargo miniseries, will get another season.
FX CEO John Landgraf announced writer Noah Hawley will write a new 10-episode Fargo miniseries featuring a new cast of characters in a different time period with a new “true crime” story.
None of the actors from the first season of Fargo will return. Unlike American Horror Story, which brings actors back in new roles year after year, Landgraf said that would not work for Fargo.
“Fargo demands a different level of realism no matter how unhinged and funny it is at times,” he said. “It is intended to be pretty real, and we didn’t feel we could reintroduce those actors as new characters.”
FX also renewed Louie for a seven-episode fifth season to air next spring.