Animated TV Shows
The Simpsons is a highly successful animated television series on the Fox television network. The success of the show has been noted even more because it is on Fox, a network only about a decade old and in need of as many hits as it can produce. In addition, the fact that the show was part of a genre that usually does not succeed on a network primetime schedule has given it more attention. The Simpsons went on the air in 1990 and remains an important part of the network’s schedule today. It has also been imitated with varying degrees of success, though most of the imitators have been on cable outlets rather than other broadcast networks.
The Simpsons began before the show reached network television. Creator Matt Groening first developed the characters for a novel called Mean Kids he wrote in high school. Groening became a cartoonist, and in 1987 he was asked by producer James L. Brooks to create characters for a series of 30-second animated shorts on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show. Groening revived the characters, though he did eliminate the profanity that they had used in his novel. The characters would later leave The Tracey Ullman Show for their own show and become more successful, with Bart Simpson in particular becoming a national icon for fans. The show was introduced in 1989 by a full-length pilot as a Christmas special (Bianculli, 1996, 294).
Recently, The Simpsons became the longest-running primetime animated series in history when it reached 168 episodes, one more than the previous record held by The Flintstones. The Flintstones has been an important touchstone in other ways. While it was successful on the network when it originally ran, it did not become a major syndication success. The show attracted children to watch television, but it did not become an adult vehicle that would serve its producers well in syndication. There was a fear from the beginning that The Simpsons would have a similar history, bu…