Mmm . . . renewal: Fox has greenlit two more seasons of animated powerhouse “The Simpsons” and another year of its Sunday benchmate “King of the Hill.”
Both Emmy-winning skeins are produced by 20th Century Fox TV.
Pact to renew “The Simpsons” through May 2005 means the show — Sunday night’s top-rated skein among adults 18-49 — will make it through a jaw-dropping 16th full season and roughly 360 episodes, allowing Homer and Co. to edge past “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” to claim the mantle of longest-running laffer in TV history.
“Watch out, ‘Gunsmoke,’ you’re next,” quipped “Simpsons” exec producer-showrunner Al Jean.
For “King of the Hill,” the one-year extension through May 2004 will bring Hank Hill and his Texas brood to the end of their eighth season. John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky have been tapped as showrunners for the new year.
‘In our prime’
“I don’t feel like we’re an aged show at all,” said Greg Daniels, co-creator and exec producer of “King.” “I view it like dog years, so I’m hoping we’re in our prime … (on the way) to 15 years.”
Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman praised both shows, claiming “The Simpsons” could be “the most extraordinary television show maybe even in the history of the medium.
“In its 14th season, the show is doing some of its funniest episodes and best numbers,” she said, noting the show’s recent Golden Globe nom.
“King of the Hill,” meanwhile, has “aided in the branding of our network as the only broadcaster that’s been able to tackle primetime animation,” she said.
Doing what it takes
“This show does anything we ask it to do,” Berman said, noting the skein’s ability to draw an aud in many different timeslots. “And they consistently put out one of the funniest shows on TV.”
Indeed, “King” is expected to move back to 7:30 p.m. Sundays from 8:30 p.m. in March to make room for new Fox laffer “Oliver Beene.” Daniels said he’s OK with the shift.
“I’m not surprised if we have to step aside and make room for new shows; I hope one day to be back if they have the need,” he said.
20th Century Fox TV prexy Gary Newman credited the renewals to the writing, voice and production teams of each. “It’s an exciting day for us,” he said.
“The Simpsons” is from Gracie Films and 20th, with James L. Brooks, creator Matt Groening and Jean exec producers.
“King” is from 20th, Deedle-Dee Prods., Film Roman, Judgemental Films and 3 Arts Entertainment. Daniels, Judge, Michael Rotenberg, Howard Klein, Altschuler and Krinsky are exec producers.