The Simpsons has been a staple of comedy, animation and television ever since it debuted in 1989. Although it's pretty much undisputed that its best episodes happened way back in the '90s, the show still has its main cast, an endless stream of celebrity cameos, and attention-grabbing gimmicks such as Homer and Marge separating to keep viewers watching. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your opinion), showrunner Al Jean says The Simpsons will end soon.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jean acknowledged that despite the perception that it'll go on forever, eventually the series has to come to an end. Season 27 just kicked off and the show is under contract for a 28th, but beyond that there's no deal in place. "It's quite possible that we don't have to go through the whole negotiation for 30 [seasons]," said Jean. "I wouldn't be stunned if we stopped at 28, but my bet is on at least 30."
Of course, this is by no means an official declaration that The Simpsons end of the line is firmly in sight. "I've been wrong before. I thought five seasons was good when I got there," as Jean said, and Hollywood has a funny tendency to hold on for dear life to surefire moneymakers far beyond their shelf life.
Still, the main cast of Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer isn't getting any younger, and Shearer very publicly scuffled with the show's producers this year before returning to his all-important role. The signs of mortality are showing and even though "going out at the top" stopped being an option somewhere around the turn of the century, the viewership for a series finale would undoubtedly be record-breaking. More than one generation grew up watching the show and that's something no other scripted series on TV can really boast.
Cover image: Animation Domination via YouTube