Following decades in which The Simpsons has been available only in first-run Sunday episodes, in two-a-day rerun packages on your local affiliates, on DVDs, and on the sweet, lilting breeze of conversing nerds, the show may finally be headed to cable. TV Guide reports that Twentieth Television is getting ready to shop The Simpsons to cable networks for the first time ever within the next year, ending an era in which a long, binding exclusivity contract signed in 1993 kept the show off cable, so long as Fox was still making new episodes.
At the time, the idea of The Simpsons cranking out new episodes for 25 seasons probably seemed unpossible. “Why, by then, all the same basic scenarios would have been repeated ad nauseam and the established chronologies and character histories become hopelessly confused, while the show increasingly resorted to gimmicky celebrity guest stars and cross-over events in a desperate attempt to stay fresh!” some guy who was way too invested in a cartoon show might have laughed.
And so, TV Guide speculates that this sudden change in policy could be due to The Simpsons finally ending in season 25, as some have long predicted and/or demanded. However, Variety quotes a source denying this, saying that instead Fox will simply make another, separate, $1 billion-plus syndication deal that will allow it to give Simpsons episodes to possible homes such as FX (or the new FXX), Comedy Central, or USA, while still keeping new episodes and syndicated reruns on broadcast. And as we reported back in 2011, it’s also possible this will all eventually lead to that proposed channel that shows nothing but The Simpsons, also known to most thirtysomethings as “the brain.”