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July 28, 2014

Al Jean

'The Simpsons' Gets Renewed, But Will Season 25 Spell the End?

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 10th 2011 11:35AM
The SimpsonsAfter teetering on the edge of cancellation, 'The Simpsons' has gotten a two season renewal from Fox. But, will these be the final two seasons of America's longest-running scripted series? According to 'Simpsons' executive producer Al Jean, no.

"Believe me, we don't look at this as these will definitely be the last two [seasons]," Jean told Entertainment Weekly. "We just want to keep fighting and go as long as we can ... We really feel this isn't an end but a beginning. It's a cliché, but it's the truth."

The studio and actors settled their salary dispute -- Fox wanted to cut their salaries by 45 percent and the cast wanted a share of the merchandising and syndication profits -- and the show was renewed.

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Michael Cera to Guest Star on 'The Simpsons'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jun 3rd 2011 7:10AM
Michael Cera'Arrested Development' and 'Superbad' star Michael Cera joins the long and illustrious list of stars who have recorded a guest spot on 'The Simpsons.' And Cera even got to play a potential love interest for Lisa.

'Simpsons' executive producer Al Jean told 'Entertainment Weekly' that Cera provides the voice for Nick, a seemingly gallant boy.

"He starts quoting Hemingway and she says, 'You're not a product of the Springfield public schools, are you?' And he goes, 'No, I come to Springfield for the food and the women.' So he talks a good game."

Sadly for Lisa, first appearances can be deceptive, and she starts to realize that Nick is "less than expected."

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Producer Al Jean Says 'The Simpsons' Will Stop Making Fun of Fox News

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 30th 2010 8:30AM

'The Simpsons' Fiox News Helicopter ParodyWriters 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."

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Morgan Spurlock on the Simpsons 20th anniversary documentary

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 7th 2010 2:02PM
Morgan Spurlock, director of The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special -- In 3D! On Ice!
I've been holding this interview for almost six months, but I think it was worth it. When I was in Pasadena last summer for the TCA press tour (whose winter edition I'll be leaving for on Friday morning... eep!), I spoke to Morgan Spurlock about the 20th anniversary film he was making about The Simpsons. FOX has finally decided to air that film, entitled The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special -- In 3-D! On Ice!, on January 10, along with the venerable cartoon's 450th episode.

Spurlock was just in the initial stages of filming the documentary when I talked to him, but his views on the show, how it and the perception of it has changed over the years, and some of the interesting things he learned about the show made for a fun interview. Since I didn't know how long the movie was going to be, I start the talk by expressing some surprise about its length.

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No sequel for The Simpsons Movie for now

by Danny Gallagher, posted Oct 7th 2009 10:02PM
Bart and Homer in The Simpsons MovieIf you fondly remember watching the first Simpsons Movie hoping that the sequel would bring you equal amounts of life affirming excitement, keep hoping.

Matt Groening and Al Jean said an interview with Morgan Spurlock, the Super Size Me star and director hired for the show's big anniversary extravaganza, that they have no plans to start doing another Simpsons movie anytime soon.

They didn't rule out the possibility of another movie, but it certainly won't be in the foreseeable future. The pair said the process for the first movie was so frustrating that they couldn't fathom even starting a second one without some kind of heavy duty anti-psychotic medication.

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Executive producer Al Jean talks about 20 years of The Simpsons

by Nick Zaino, posted Sep 25th 2009 11:05AM
Al Jean The SimpsonsAl Jean started out with The Simpsons 20 years ago as a writer working a couple of days a week. He was there when the series started, and even before it was officially a series, working on the Christmas show in 1989, when The Simpsons first broke away from its beginnings on The Tracey Ullman Show.

Now he's an executive producer and showrunner, staring down the twentieth anniversary of the official start of the series, which happens in January. I spoke with him this week about this Sunday's season premiere, a bit of Simpsons history, and just how long the Simpsons can keep making people laugh.

After 20 years of doing The Simpsons, how do you find something new to do with the show? How do you generate ideas you haven't done before?

Well, it's the best of both worlds. If something happens to you in your life or to the world, you can satirize it but you get to use these characters that people love and that you're very familiar with. To me, there's a lot of topics that are fresh and interesting.

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Morgan Spurlock on The Simpsons Anniversary Special -- In 3-D! On Ice!

by Nick Zaino, posted Aug 1st 2009 10:03AM
Morgan SpurlockWhen documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock first saw The Simpsons, he was a 19- or 20-year-old college kid, still living at home with his mother in West Virginia. Having grown up watching Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Blackadder, Spurlock was ecstatic to watch The Tracey Ullman Show, the show that would eventually introduce him to The Simpsons.

Twenty years later, Spurlock has established himself as a filmmaker with Super Size Me and Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden, and will direct a segment for the upcoming adaptation of Freakonomics. And he'll get to tackle the show he's loved these past two decades as he produces and directs The Simpsons Anniversary Special - In 3-D! On Ice!, which will air Thursday, January 14, 2010.

Spurlock remembers his first impression of the show, watching back in his college days. "When it first came on, I was in college, and it was literally an obsession. It was something that me and all my friends would literally ... at 8 o'clock, we were sitting there on the couch watching this show, and it was something that we all did together," said Spurlock in a conference call with media last week. "For all my four years of college, that was something that we did."

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Expect three more years of The Simpsons

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 29th 2008 4:40PM
Simpsons ringAnimation domination will continue with The Simpsons anchoring the Fox toon programming for at least three more years. Al Jean, Simpsons' exective producer, confirmed that since the actors are signed up till 2011, he's pretty much banking on the fact that the award-winning comedy series will stay on the air.

Considering the fact that The Simpsons continues to be so successful -- last year's movie, for instance, grossed a staggering $526 million worldwide -- and remains hilarious and relevant, Fox would be nuts to let the show go. And one of the best things about this family sitcom is that the characters never age. Bart and Lisa only age in the episodes that fantasize about the future.

The Simpsons, paired with the Seth MacFarlane shows -- Family Guy and American Dad -- plus King of the Hill, gives Fox the most competitive and alternative programming for Sunday nights.

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Futurama and Simpsons panels - Comic-Con Report

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 26th 2008 3:30PM

The Simpsons from the Futurama and Simpsons Panels at Comic-Con 2008

Day three of Comic-Con 2008 began with waiting in a line that streched the length of the convention center for the Futurama panel, which was followed by The Simpsons panel. Futurama featured the primary voice cast of Billy West, Katey Sagal, and John DiMaggio as well as creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen.

Due to time limitations the panel when right into audience questions. One that was asked pertained to Matt and David's plans for the show. Both meant said that they had the entire story of Futurama planned even before the show began. They didn't know where the show would go, and they still have plenty of secrets to reveal in upcoming DVD releases.

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FOX Sunday animation panel: The Simpsons is still the king - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 15th 2008 12:05PM
Fox animation panel
As usual, FOX leaves the best press conference (at least as far as I was concerned) for last. I sat through Karl Rove and Chris Wallace getting contentious with the critics near the end of the FOX News panel (more on that later), Jerry O'Connell and the cast of Do Not Disturb strain to answer questions about a show whose clip reel wasn't all that funny, and the millionaires from Secret Millionaire talk about being poor for a week. All of it was made worth it (and, really, seeing Rove start to get annoyed near the end was fun to watch) so we could see the final panel: all the producers of all FOX's Sunday animated shows.

The first person who spoke up, not surprisingly, was Seth MacFarlane. "Is this where Karl Rove sat? Because I don't want to get AIDS." Wow. Unfortunately, no line that was said after that was as shocking or funny. But it was all still pretty good.

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Al Jean talks about The Simpsons

by Adam Finley, posted May 7th 2007 7:20PM

simpsonsIn a recent conference call, Simpsons writer and producer Al Jean spoke about the upcoming 400th episode, titled "Kent Always Say What You Want" (the title was originally "The Kent State Massacre" but that was changed for obvious reasons).

The episode airs May 20 at 8:30 p.m. and is preceded by the 24 spoof "24 Minutes" featuring guests Kiefer Sutherland and Mary Lynn Rajskub.

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Matt Groening talks about Futurama's comeback

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 31st 2007 6:33PM
Matt GroeningProbably my favorite moment during the TCA press tour week -- and this is a week where I joked around with Greg the Bunny and visited the set of Scrubs -- was when I met Matt Groening at FOX's party on the last night of the tour. Because just about all the questions I had about The Simpsons were asked during the show's press session earlier in the day, I took the opportunity to concentrate on his other show (and a perennial favorite amongst our readers), Futurama, and its impending return to TV.

Groening gives the show's loyal fans all the credit in the world for helping the show come back. "The continued devotion of the fans, chiefly on the Internet, kept us thinking that maybe we could bring this back," he said.

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The Simpsons creators celebrate 400th episode and movie - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 21st 2007 12:35PM
The SimpsonsIt's Sunday. The winter press tour is over. I'm currently coming down from being over-fed, over-sugared, and moderately-boozed. I'm also thinking back to the fact that during the last four days, I rarely left my hotel, because the networks were plying their wares for us from morning until night.

I'm going to post my overall thoughts on this TV smorgasboard later this week. But before I hop a plane back to Jersey, I wanted to talk about the session that was a TV nerd's dream, at least to this TV nerd: FOX's panel to celebrate the 400th episode of The Simpsons, which will air this May. On the panel was none other than creator Matt Groening, executive producer and TV legend James L. Brooks, current show-runner Al Jean, and voice actors Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Dan Castellaneta (Homer and a bunch of other voices).

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Short-Lived Shows: The Critic

by Adam Finley, posted May 22nd 2006 9:30AM

The critic jay shermanThe Critic, while it was on television, aired on ABC, FOX, and Comedy Central, though not at the same time. The show, created by Simpsons vets Mike Reiss and Al Jean, started off on ABC where it wallowed in obscurity, and then moved to FOX for its second season. Actually, it didn't fare much better on FOX, either, and after two seasons the plug was pulled. It did, however, manage to find an audience when Comedy Central began airing reruns. Also, a "third" season of shorts was created for Shockwave.com. Not counting the Shockwave mini-episodes, the series only ran for a total of 23 episodes.

The titular character, voiced by Jon Lovitz, was a critic living in New York City who essentially hated every movie he saw. Of course, every movie he saw was incredibly bad, so you couldn't really blame him. The series premiered in 1994, and as anyone who has tried to get an animated show on primetime in the wake of The Simpsons knows, it can be an uphill battle, even if you happened to work on The Simpsons yourself. In fact, a crossover episode of The Simpsons featuring Jay Sherman (the Critic) was made ("A Star is Burns"). That episode, however, perhaps inadvertently zeroed in on why The Critic didn't last. While it was a great show, it seemed to wither under the shadow of a much bigger and much more popular series. Even I never gave it much of a chance when it first aired, seeing it as a lesser version of what The Simpsons was offering. It wasn't until I watched it on its own merit that I realized it was actually very unique, very well-written, and had carved out its own little universe separate from The Simpsons. The lesson, I suppose, is never jump to conclusions.

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