How Much Longer Will 'The Simpsons' Be Around?

The Simpson's
The Simpson's

The Simpsons

, the world's favorite dysfunctional animated family, will have their day of reckoning at some point. But that day has not arrived yet.

The Fox network, which is owned by News Corp. (NWS), announced Thursday that it was renewing the longest-running television comedy in history for a 23rd season, bringing its episode total to 515. Predictably, the show's team took the news in good humor.

"Like many 22-year-olds, The Simpsons is extremely happy remaining at home, on Fox, and hopes it doesn't have to go out into the real world for many years to come," said executive producer Al Jean in a press release. The show's cast is all signed for the next season.

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All kidding aside, the renewal comes at a critical time for New York-based News Corp. As Bloomberg News recently reported, Fox lost almost 17% of its young adult viewers -- a key demographic for advertisers -- in the first five weeks of the season. The audience for The Simpsons among this demographic fell 12%, which is better than the 34% drop-off for the medical drama House. Newer shows such as Family Guy and The Cleveland Show are down 15% and 31% respectively, Bloomberg says, citing Nielsen data provided by the network. Ratings for baseball's World Series were disappointing and American Idol is expected to struggle when its newest season begins in January after the departure of Simon Cowell.

America's first animated family, though, is not giving up without a fight. Here is how the press release describes what's ahead for the show:

This season, America's favorite family continues to entertain us with their wild and outlandish adventures as Maggie goes missing, Homer becomes a premier hairdresser, Moe's Tavern is converted into an ultra-trendy bar and the family debates the best way to spend the holiday season. Guest stars paying Springfield a visit in upcoming episodes include actors Halle Berry, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais, Rachel Weisz, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Alyson Hannigan and Joe Mantegna; basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; lifestyle guru Martha Stewart; and pop sensation Katy Perry, who appears in a live-action sequence alongside Simpsons puppets.

Fans better hope that people tune in. Even stars of the magnitude of Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart and Maggie Simpson can't escape the fiscal realities of the modern media world. Though they have made their corporate masters boatloads of cash, show business is all about "what have you done for me lately."

Shows that lose audience usually get canceled. It's as simple as that. The network has not made any such suggestions but Fox executives must be contemplating what life will be like without the winner of a Peabody Award, 27 Emmy Awards, 27 Annie Awards, five Genesis Awards, nine International Monitor Awards and seven Environmental Media Awards.

It will happen one day, just not quite yet.