Simpsons By the Numbers: With Two More Seasons A Go, How the Show’s Longevity Adds Up

The Simpsons
The Simpsons

There’s never been a television phenomenon like The Simpsons, and it’s unlikely there will ever be a show like it again. Fox announced on Monday that it has renewed the animated institution for another two seasons (its 27th and 28th), which takes The Simpsons to 625 episodes.

Where does that place The Simpsons in TV history? In rarified air. Now in its 26th season, The Simpsons is already the longest-running scripted primetime series in U.S. TV history. Here are the only English-language programs that have lasted longer:

1. 60 Minutes (1968-present; 47 seasons)

2. Monday Night Football (1970-present; 44 seasons)

3. 20/20 (1978-present; 35 seasons)

4. 48 Hours (1988-present; 27 seasons)

5. Cops (1989-present; 27 seasons)

On Twitter, executive producer Al Jean quipped, “And we’re funnier than all of them (except Cops).”

Univision’s Sabado Gigante could also be on this list, but not much longer, as it leaves the air later this year. America’s Funniest Home Video took a few years off, or it would be there as well.

The Simpsons is such an institution that Jim McKairnes, who chairs the global broadband and telecommunications department at Temple University’s School of Media and Communication, tells us “a fact I try to impress on students (and anyone else) is The Simpsons has been around for 1/3 as long as TV itself.”

Here are a few more numbers to ponder as we’re guaranteed The Simpsons through at least 2017.

31: Number of Emmy Awards won by The Simpsons. (The show has also collected 31 Annie Awards, a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for the theatrical short “The Longest Daycare.”

$300,000: Last reported per-episode salary for The Simpsons voice actors. The stars agreed to a pay cut during tough renegotiations in 2011.

$750 million: The approximate fee that FX Networks paid for cable syndication and VOD rights to the show’s complete library.

3: Number of nights that the still-fledgling Fox programmed when The Simpsons premiered (Sunday, Monday and Saturday).

33.6 million: Viewers that watched the Season 2 opener “Bart Gets an F” on Oct. 11, 1990 (still a series record).

4: The number of regular time slots that first-run episodes of The Simpsons have had over 26 seasons (Sunday 8:30/7:30c, Sunday 8/7c, Thursday 8/7c, then back to Sunday 8/7c.)

42: Number of TV Guide Magazine covers over the years (including multiple covers such as the Oct. 21, 2000 issue, which featured 24 fan favorite supporting characters). The Simpsons also shared a cover with other shows another 16 times.

18: Seasons available on DVD (1-17 and 20). Jean announced last month the decision by Fox Home Entertainment to discontinue the releases (which had trickled down to just one a year). “We plan (and are excited) to do commentaries for all episodes produced,” he says. “These will be available on Simpsons World initially but after, who knows?” There are several online petitions underway by fans hoping keep the DVD collections going, or at least looking to convince the powers that be to sign a deal with an outside distributor like Shout Factory.