In the 1980s a guy named Matt Groening (rhymes with "groaning") was drawing his daily syndicated comic strip "Life Is Hell" when he got a call on his telephone. "Hmmm I wonder who that could be" he said. It turns out it was James L. Brooks the successful hollywood producer and he wanted Matt to make cartoons for him and Matt said "okay". He got some cartoons done and then they put them on "The Tracy Ullman Show" that is why they call them the Tracy Ullman shorts. Anyway everybody liked the cartoons and the FOX Network said "please make the cartoons a show" and Matt and James said "yes" and then the show was born.
The Simpsons as we know it today started in 1991 and has gone on for nearly twenty years and has been very successful. It has won a lot of awards including an oscar. It is currently the longest running show in the history of ever.