Producer Al Jean Says 'The Simpsons' Will Stop Making Fun of Fox News
Writers and producers at 'The Simpsons' love nothing more than to take comedic pot-shots at the Fox network and its parent company News Corp.
However, some controversy is brewing after the show made fun of Fox News twice, but 'Simpsons' producer Al Jean says they're ready to stop. (For now.)
After a recent episode featured a Fox news chopper with the slogan "Not Racist, But #1 With Racists" on the side, Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly called Matt Groening and his crew "pinheads." So this past Sunday the Fox news chopper was back, only this time the slogan read: "Unsuitable for Viewers Under 75."
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jean said the "Unsuitable" joke was added at the last-minute because of O'Reilly's dig. "If you're calling cartoon characters 'pinheads,' what does that make you? Matt Groening wanted to do a response to O'Reilly so we slipped this in."
Because the joke doesn't appear in online versions of the show, rumors have been swirling that top execs at Fox had intervened to nix it. However, Jean said that it was only ever intended to be seen by US and Canadian viewers: The show sends out different master copies of the show to different markets, and "we didn't pay to put it into every edition." He added, "It sort of gives people a reason to watch the shows when they first run on Fox."
Jean also said that no one at Fox had asked 'The Simpsons' to stop making fun of Fox News. However, he confirmed that the news chopper won't be back for a third outing in the upcoming Holiday Special, featuring guest star Katy Perry: "I think at that point you're becoming stale. I believe that something is only funny twice. Next week, the show is so long we don't even have a couch gag."
'The Simpsons' airs Sundays, 8PM ET on Fox.