Cable: It’s more wonderful than you dared hope. Assuming you get FXX this time next year, that is: FX Networks announced this morning that it has paid an undisclosed (but presumably large) sum of money to keep Simpsons reruns within the 21st Century Fox family. (UPDATE: Variety reports the deal shakes out to approximately $750 million.) Come August 2014, FXX will be the exclusive cable home to the show’s first 24 seasons. Sure, FX Networks might have all the money in the world, but there’s one thing it can’t buy: A dinosaur. (Or more episodes of Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell.) The longest-running scripted series in primetime television history will have to suffice.
All of The Simpsons will also be made available to cable and satellite subscribers via the forthcoming FXNow mobile app. This marks the first time the show’s complete run will be available for streaming, excepting the few dozen illegal websites scattered across the Internet whose reason for being is providing a crappy rip of “Marge Vs. The Monorail.” But this time, it’s legal—which isn’t a Simpsons quote, though it sounds like one, something we’ll be able to confirm with a push of a button in a year’s time. As soon as we find that damn “Any” key. (There we go, back on track.)
The deal isn’t exactly news for anyone who’s had a TV and a willingness to sit through the local news since 1994, the year The Simpsons began its run in broadcast syndication. But the language of that original contract prevented cable outlets from getting into the Springfield game—a sticking point that was reportedly cleared up this past summer. At the time, analysts estimated that Simpsons repeats could fetch as much as $1 billion, or 1/14th of Barney Gumble’s tab at Moe’s Tavern—a joke from “22 Short Films About Springfield” you’ll be able to enjoy whenever, wherever, in less than a year. Unless you don’t have cable, in which case you might as well steal it. Because cable companies are big, faceless corporations which makes it okay. Big, faceless corporations that will soon grant you on-demand access to every episode of The Simpsons, ever.