After a major bidding war, FX spinoff channel FXX has secured the exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to “The Simpsons,” the longest-running, most successful comedy series in television history. It may not be the same quality show it was in its heyday, but currently in its 25th season, “The Simpsons” has won 28 Emmy Awards, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for the short “The Longest Daycare.”
The massive deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television, which many outlets have been estimating at $750 million, means that beginning in August 2014, FXX will become the sole cable network home for all seasons of “The Simpsons,” excluding the one currently airing on Fox. FXNow, the upcoming mobile viewing app created by FX Networks for its verified subscribers, will similarly be the restricted home for all the seasons of “The Simpsons” other than the current one, meaning no Netflix or Hulu for older seasons. FXX and FXNow will receive succeeding seasons of “The Simpsons” as new ones begin their premiere on Fox.
While the streaming angle is likely to turn out to be the biggest part of this deal in an age where exclusive offerings are at a premium, the acquisition of “The Simpsons” means that the recently launched FXX will have many episodes of a well-established series as a basis from which to build. FXX recently canceled “Totally Biased With W. Kamau Bell,” the topical comedy series it brought over from flagship network FX and bumped up to a nightly schedule.
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“‘The Simpsons’ is indisputably one of the greatest shows in television history,” said FX’s John Landgraf. “We are honored to have it associated with FX Networks and FXX. This was a very long, hard and complicated negotiation and I credit the relentlessness and diligence of Chuck Saftler for getting it done. I also want to thank Gary Newman and Dana Walden at TCFTV, and Greg Meidel and Steve MacDonald at Twentieth Television. Most important of all, I want to thank Jim Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean and everyone at Gracie Films for this partnership.”