Zombie Simpsons Renewal Goes to Overtime

Burns' Heir13

“Hey, you know we’re getting into golden time?” – Estonian Actor
“Yes, well just get it right or you’ll all be back doing ‘Come Blow Your Horn’ at the Westport dinner theater!” – C.M. Burns

Six months ago, we got word from Al Jean himself that the current TABF production run was indeed a full twenty-two episode order.  The most recent episode was TABF10, which means that they have twelve more episodes to broadcast under the current contract.

Last night, commenter Mr. Incognito e-mailed me to let me know that Erika Isabel Vega, who’s been with the show since 2006, tweeted this yesterday:


Today’s a good day for contract/renewal news. We’re past the ultimatum & it’s the start of a week. Who will report first? #TheSimpsons


What’s this ultimatum?  Going back a couple of days, we find this exchange between her and Matthew Schofield, who’s been with the show since 1999:


No joke-I just got an email for our mtg on the last episode on contract. If we don’t get renewed this will be the final one. #TheSimpsons / @eiVega you need to calm down / @Mr_Schofield Hahaha…I honestly think I’m more calm than most of the crew. I do think we’ll be renewed. I’m just more dramatic online. ;)


What does that mean?  It means that we’ve reached the deadline I mentioned six months ago when I noted that the renewal notice was overdue.  Production is at its contractual end, and, since there’s no way to keep that quiet in this day and age, we are officially into overtime on whether or not Zombie Simpsons will be renewed for a full Season 27.

[Please note that sites like IGN and TV By the Numbers list the show as “renewed” because one way or another there is going to be a Season 27.  The current contract will still have episodes (probably seven of them) left on it after the Season 26 finale.  What we’re talking about is a renewal beyond the current TABF production run.]

In a tweet from last week, Vega noted that she and the rest of the staff usually find out about renewals through the news media, so she’s as in the dark as the rest of us.  Just to be thorough, I poked around a few other Simpsons staff Twitter accounts, including Jean and Brooks, and didn’t see anything.  (Although Jean did say that Hugh Jass from Flaming Moe’s was originally going to be Hugh G. Rection, heh.)

So, is there going to be a full Season 27?  As always with renewal, it’s safest to bet on “Yes”.  These negotiations have gone down to the wire several times over the (sigh) decades, and they always find a way to pull through because everyone involved keeps making money that way.  Yes, the ratings get lower every year, but that’s true for network teevee in general; and for all its many (many) problems, Zombie Simpsons is still strong among the youthful demographics that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.  (Those unoriginal AAA video games and Liam Neeson movies aren’t going to sell themselves, you know.)

All this means is that, one way or another, we should be getting word very soon.  As has been true for years now, there are only a few possible scenarios:

1.  The talks fail, they halt production, and Season 27 will be a short one.

2.  There is a partial renewal that brings the show a full Season 27 but not a full production run and it ends in May of next year.

3.  There is a full renewal for one (or more) 22 episode production run(s), and we go through this again.

If there is a renewal announcement this week (or sometime soon), the important thing to note (which most of the entertainment press will ignore because they are awful at their jobs) is how many episodes.  That’s the difference between #2 and #3 above.

Whatever happens, I just hope it’s definitive.  It’s annoying as hell when half-sourced rumors start ricocheting around the internet and I have to sort through them.

One final note, people like Vega and Schofield make the show go.  As I’ve said before, most of the folks who work on it aren’t rich or famous, and neither, for that matter, are they the reason it became Zombie Simpsons.  If there is any anger at FOX or elsewhere over this post, please direct it at me and not them.  They didn’t do anything wrong; it’s their bosses who are screwing things up, not them.

21 Responses to “Zombie Simpsons Renewal Goes to Overtime”

  1. 1 Stan
    7 April 2015 at 12:33 pm

    After I found out Family Guy ratings went so bad it was actually “sold” to Adult Swim (or not?), I’m thinking the same could happen with ZS. And by saying this I’m overlooking the fact that the producers make money from the fact of running it in prime time. If ZS migrates to another, adult-oriented channel, it’s still not better because it will keep airing and they will keep producing episodes. But at least you won’t fall on posts about “how The Simpsons were great before, but are still great today, just not as much”. Something they don’t know, however, is that becoming an internet show on YouTube could have landed them more ratings than they currently have, considering they’re aiming at the 18-25 demographic and such.

  2. 6 Bleeding Gums Murphy
    7 April 2015 at 5:25 pm

    How do you know that the user “Al Jean” from October was Al Jean himself rather than a troll?
    if the real Jean is reading this, please confirm this.

  3. 7 April 2015 at 6:16 pm

    They know sites like his exist. They keep everyone in the dark for that reason. Also well said Charlie.

  4. 8 Victor Dang
    8 April 2015 at 12:34 am

    “Those unoriginal AAA video games and Liam Neeson movies aren’t going to sell themselves, you know”

    Aww man, Charlie, that really hurts… though right now it’s pretty much true. And I like Liam Neeson, though I can’t say Taken 2 was any great shakes better than Taken orig.

  5. 9 Angelm Young
    8 April 2015 at 10:44 am

    I think the most realistic outcome of this is either 2 (the full season with no leftover episodes for season 28) or 3 (full season with leftover episodes for season 28). The first one doesn’t seem likely unless FOX is seriously considering putting Bob’s Burgers or Bordertown (the Mark Hentamann cartoon that was supposed to premiere as a mid-season replacement, but was most likely replaced with “The Last Man on Earth”) in The Simpsons’ former timeslot.

  6. 10 Matthew
    9 April 2015 at 11:14 am

    What’s the line between cancellation and renewal? I wonder if non-US markets are largely responsible for keeping ZS afloat.

    • 13 Bleeding Gums Murphy
      9 April 2015 at 6:28 pm

      I think it’s pretty sad that the nobodies that are making the show are nervous about the current renewal thing and lack of response.

      Regardless of how much you hate Zombie Simpsons, as Charlie have said many times, it won’t be good news for those people.

  7. 14 Stan
    9 April 2015 at 11:03 pm

    I’m still expecting Charlie to write another post within the next 10 days on how those assholes finally managed to can their negotiations and offer us two more fucking years of this shit.

    I’ve said it numerous times: someone must shoot Jean. They call me homicidal. It’s not about me being homicidal, it’s about ending it!

    • 16 Matthew
      10 April 2015 at 9:53 am

      The time to do that was 10 years ago. The show is beyond salvation at this point. Killing him would just make him a martyr (and it reminds me of the end of “Network”) and means you would have to watch the resulting Simpsons Renaissance from jail.

      Don’t get me wrong, nothing would give me greater pleasure to see Al Jean removed from his position as showrunner. He hides behind the fact that he was part of the show from Day One despite the fact that he was Mike Reiss’ writing partner; Reiss obviously contributed more than his share. Even Mike Scully’s tenure was more consistently funny despite the writers’ tendency to write themselves into a corner by act III in the name of the Almighty Joke (there, I said it).

      And when Al Jean goes, he needs to take about 75% of the producing team with him. 10 years ago, the last time I could even go through the motions of tolerating the show enough to watch it as part of my weekly routine, there were about 40 producers credited in the act I episode credits; by contrast, “King of the Hill” had 10. Too many cooks? Why do you need 40 producers on a half-hour sitcom?

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