Late last week, Fox announced plans to honor the passing of Simpsons
voice actress Marcia Wallace by airing the classic Season 3 episode "Bart the Lover," for which she'd won an Emmy.
However, viewers on Sunday were instead presented with the Season 22 travesty "The Nedliest Catch," the stunt episode where viewers got to decide the fate of Mrs. Krabappel and Ned Flander's relationship, also known as "Nedna."
Entertainment Weekly, which had announced the news, updated their story to explain the switcheroo:
The network originally announced plans to re-air Wallace's Emmy-winning episode from the show's third season, "Bart the Lover," but "technical issues" clearing the 20-year-old episode prevented the last-minute switch and a newer episode featuring her character had to be chosen instead.
Apparently, Fox is now literally incapable of broadcasting quality Simpsons episodes.
Well, the Maggie Simpson short lost in its bid for an Academy Award, and the world was robbed of the opportunity to see director David Silverman's majestic beard. Here's a photopic of Silverman, Matt Groening, and writer Michael Price looking dapper on the red carpet (apparently Silverman and Groening didn't get the memo to wear this Maggie button):
Remember those cool-ass Simpsons stamps that I was raving about two years ago? Well it turns out the Postal Service completely misjudged the popularity of The Simpsons Franchise by about, oh, seven hundred million.
According to Bloomberg, all those beautiful, beautiful stamps are now just sitting in a stamp warehouse somewhere waiting to be disposed of, which is a real tragedy:
Bloomberg's Dominic Chu reports that the money-losing U.S. Postal Service guessed that TV cartoon character Homer Simpson and his family were twice as popular as Elvis Presley when it came to sales of commemorative stamps. The service produced 1 billion of "The Simpsons " stamps and sold 318 million with the remainder being disposed at a loss.
Back in 2007, rival media conglomerates News Corporation and NBCUniversal put aside their differences and joined forces to create Hulu, a video site designed to combat rampant piracy. If you miss your favorite shows, you can just catch 'em the next morning on Hulu for free in exchange for watching some commercials. It's been a big success, and something that many viewers have become accustomed to. Well, if you've been using the service to watch Fox shows, THE FREE RIDE STOPS HERE, BUCKO. Recently, Fox changed its rules so that Hulu viewers will have to wait eight days to watch new episodes from Fox shows, unless they pony up the cash for the subscription service Hulu Plus or prove they pay for DISH Network.
Unsurprisingly, people have turned to piracy to get their fix:
Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected [...] During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell's Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S.
And keep in mind the fall season hasn't started yet; these trends may increase once shows like House and The Simpsons return to the airwaves.
Admittedly, ad revenue from Hulu is paltry compared to television - former NBC executive Jeff Zucker once quipped "We're exchanging analogue dollars for digital dimes." But surely it's better to make some money rather than no money, right? [TorrentFreak via TechCrunch]
"Homer Simpson" wrote a letter to Britain's Royal Couple, Will & Kate, inviting them to sit in on a read-through of some upcoming Season 60 garbage on their trip to glorious Los Angeles, because word got out that Prince William used to like The Simpsons when he was a kid. To the surprise of no one, it turns out the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had better things to do than sit around a table with a bunch of self-loathing comedy writers, listening to actors recite terrible lines of dialogue over the phone. First, I'd like to imagine that Prince William, like everyone else, knows that the show is really bad now. Secondly, why would Homer invite people to a read-through, where they'd no doubt discover his terrible secret of being a fictional character? That's like Mickey Mouse inviting kids to the Disneyland basement and then taking off his head to reveal he's just some guy wearing a costume. It's a little perverse. [WA Today]
Last night's magician-themed episode got 4.996 million viewers, the first time a Simpsons episode has gotten less than 5 million viewers in its original airing (it still did better than NBC's Next Great American Restaurant, though... yeesh!). More evidence of the nation's seething hatred for magicians? [TV by the Numbers via Dead Homer Society]
Back in 2002, a more innocent time when we were told Saddam Hussein could attack us again at any moment, Futurama was on death watch. Since its premiere, Fox had shuffled its timeslot multiple times, and it eventually wound up in the 7 o'clock hour, the almost-but-not-quite-primetime hour where TV shows go to die (bad news for American Dad) and football pre-emptions occur every other week. Together with a lack of advertising and the fact that it was a niche show to begin with, Futurama could only manage to wring out a pitiful 6.4 million viewers when the show was mercifully put out to pasture by Fox.
In 2010, The Simpsons, which has held the same timeslot for sixteen straight seasons and has always had the full support of the network, recieved 5.74 million viewers for its season finale, which featured guest appearances by four American Idol judges and host Ryan Seacrest. [No Homers Club/Media Life Magazine]
On November 8th, The Simpsons will be replaced by an episode of Family Guy, which will then be followed by a 30-minute "variety special" starring Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane and featuring integrated advertisements for the upcoming Windows 7 operating system. [Variety via A.V. Club]
Newsarama tried to stealthily ask showrunner Al Jean why he's been showrunner for the past nine years, and he answered that the writers haven't been getting offers to work on other comedies and that comedy might finally be back on the upswing. I guess all those Judd Apatow-produced movies and animated comedies (some of them not created by Seth MacFarlane) and single-camera sitcoms like Arrested Development and The Office that have popped up in the past couple of years were actually part of a downswing?
Nrama: But haven't you always had a philosophy of keeping the writers rotating? It kept new blood flowing.
Jean: Well, it was never a philosophy. There were two dynamics at work. In the 1990's, there were a lot of comedies on the air. People who were on 'The Simpsons' got all these offers to work elsewhere. So they would leave, often to head their own projects. So we'd replace them.
This decade, unfortunately, comedy has not been doing so well. If people are doing a good job, then I keep them. So it doesn't rotate as much. Still, I'm encouraged by this year's ratings. Comedy might be back on the upswing. 'American Family' has started off really well.
Last Sunday's episode, Any Given Sundance, was supposedly the least-watched first-run episode in recent history, with only 6.18 million viewers. [Simpsons Channel]
The Simpsons Movie lost out to a Michael Bay movie based on a cartoon from the 1980s designed to sell toys in a worthless category ("Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet") at Sunday night's MTV Movie Awards. [No Homers Club]