July 2013 Archives

So Long, Simpsons Channel! / Lisa Needs Braces

simpsons channel
*pantomimes swinging a golf club* Looks like I've knocked off yet another competitor!

For years, Simpsons Channel was the main news source for the Simpsons fansite community, and one of the few sites dedicated solely to Simpsons news. It provided a script to allow other Simpsons fansites to put its headlines on their own pages. Bam, instant news section.

I can't say it was particularly interesting - it was mostly just press releases and that sort of thing - but it did what it did well, always had a nice, clean design and, unlike a lot of its peers, kept going long after site owner Adam Wolf lost interest in the show. It did, however, have something of a Walter Cronkite moment back in 2010 when Wolf slammed the cheap, cash-in Season 20 DVD set and even encouraged people to torrent the season instead.

Not to sound overly self-serving, but IN THE NEWS would not exist if not for Simpsons Channel. I used to find "quirky" Simpsons news articles and submit them to Simpsons Channel, but they would never run them. So, I figured if I had my own news blog I could run all the weird overlooked Simpsons news items I wanted. Furthermore, I decided that if Simpsons Channel was the Simpsons fansite equivalent of The New York Times (authoritative, trustworthy, dry), then IN THE NEWS should be its Drudge Report/Gawker equivalent (gossipy, opinionated, snarky). I'd like to think of it as an unrequited Batman/Joker relationship.

And so, after a long 16 years, we bid adieu to Simpsons Channel, which joins Simpsons Zip, Simpsons-L, Simpsons Folder, Go Simpsonic!, and The Springfield Connection in the big web server in the sky.

The Simpsons Are Going To Cable!

groan
The Simpsons currently has a weird syndication deal where reruns can only be sold to local broadcast networks, because cable wasn't very profitable when the deal was made twenty years ago. Nowadays, cable is a pretty big deal, and Fox stands to earn an estimated $1-2 million per episode from a cable syndication deal - and since there will be at least 559 episodes, that deal could be worth more than $1 billion.

This was a sticking point during the contract renegotiations in 2011, when the voice actors demanded a share in the profits (and didn't get it). It was widely assumed a cable deal could not be negotiated until after the show is cancelled: an analyst quoted in Forbes said "the cancellation of the show would allow [Fox] to finally sell off-network syndication rights into cable channels," and an Adult Swim bumper seemed to echo this ("Now put that thing to bed, FOX / so we can buy it").

Well, apparently that's no longer the case: TV Guide says Fox is getting ready to sell The Simpsons to cable within the next year.

Simpsons Writers Finally Putting Effort Into Something

writer watch
Detractors of modern day Simpsons, rejoice: the writing staff is finally putting some effort into something! Unfortunately, that something has nothing to do with the show in any way.

Bloomberg Businessweek has a story about the writers' Summer Box Office Fantasy League, a "complicated gambling game" where they waste time by betting on which summer blockbusters will rule the box office for the grand prize of a banner and $400, the equivalent of how much Matt Groening makes in a minute.

Crossoverkill

seymourBad news, everyone! Hot off the heels of the announcement that Family Guy is doing a Simpsons crossover episode, executive producer Al Jean announced at Comic Con that The Simpsons is doing a crossover with its soon-to-be-deceased sister show Futurama. It will air next year as either the season finale of the upcoming season, or the season premiere for the season after that.

The comic books already did a fairly okay crossover a decade ago, having managed to find a loophole in creator Matt Groening's ironclad "rule" that Futurama is real and The Simpsons is fictional - the brain spawn send the Futurama characters into an issue of Simpsons Comics - but no matter, the TV crew will do it again anyway.

Assuming this is a full-fledged crossover and not some glorified cameo (like Bender in the episode Future-Drama), this is a terrible, comically bereft-of-ideas last-ditch dying gasp of an idea.

[Entertainment Weekly]

Brad Bird Has An Opinion On The Family Guy/Simpsons Crossover

Crossover! Is there any word more thrilling to the human soul? Family Guy has listened to your 1999-era fan fiction and is going full steam-ahead on a crossover episode where the Griffins meet the Simpsons, and wackiness is sure to ensue. Just think of the possibilities: maybe Homer and Peter will argue over which cartoon beer is better?? Maybe Stewie and Maggie will try to kill someone?? Maybe the talking dog will sniff the other dog's butt?? Unfortunately you'll have to wait more than a year to see all your amazing Animation Domination crossover fantasies brought to life on the silver screen.

Anyway, Brad Bird, who's now a big-time director about to start production on a sci-fi movie called Tomorrowland and needn't concern himself with piddley new developments in the field of long-running run-into-the-ground TV cartoons, weighed in on Twitter by saying he agrees with his former boss, 1995 Matt Groening.

Bob's Burgers Getting Comic Book, Coloring Book

bobs burgersBob's Burgers, the only good show on Fox's Animation Domination block, is getting its own comic book from some indie company called Dynamite Entertainment. Not only that, but attendees of the Bob's Burgers panel at an event called the "San Diego Comic Convention" will get a special coloring book! As Bob Burger would say, "Freaking sweet!"

Yeardley Smith Visits Gynecologist

homer gynecologist
How did multi-millionaire actress and shoe mogul Yeardley Smith celebrate her birthday? By showing up to her gynecology appointment, of course! The voice of Lisa Simpson recounted her 49th birthday in a minute-by-minute breakdown on her Tumblr blog:
9:05 AM--Drive to the gynecologist. (Note to self: Do not schedule any more appointments with the gynecologist on your birthday!)

It's probably a good idea to schedule as many gynecology appointments as possible before women's health is outlawed, particularly in Texas.

Anyway, here's a fun factoid to add to the "Jesus, Just How Long Has This Show Been On?" pile: Yeardley Smith has voiced Lisa for more than half her life.

[Gobbing Off!]