FXX Touts Its New ‘Simpsons’ App
In this photo released by Fox, Homer explains why he wants to bring back the annual 4th of July fireworks display, after it's cancelled for budget reasons, in the "Yellow Badge of Cowardge" Season Finale episode of "The Simpsons," in May 2014. The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be paired this fall with a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy. "I'm not going to over-promise, but I think this website will provide you with affordable health care," longtime "Simpsons" executive producer Al Jean told a TV critics' meeting Monday, July 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Fox)
Beverly Hills, Calif. — We all know that one guy (or gal) who has an uncanny (occasionally annoying) knack for recalling lines from just about every episode of The Simpsons — of which there are currently 552 and counting.
That person is about to be replaced by a tricked-out, multiplatform “Simpsons World” library available this fall from FXX that will allow TV subscribers to have access to every episode of the show since its 1989 debut, searchable and clippable by scene and subject, on any device.
Expect your social network feeds to soon be filled with lines from The Simpsons as users try to impress their friends with apropos dialogue once uttered by Bart, Homer, Sideshow Bob, Mr. Burns, Marge’s sisters, Apu, Maggie, Ralph — you name it. No stone in Springfield appears to have been left unturned. No more will you search YouTube hoping for fuzzily replicated clips of, say, the show’s Planet of the Apes musical. (“I hate every ape I see/ From chimpan-A to chimpan-Zee . . . “)
Hard-to-impress reporters at the Television Critics Association’s annual summer press tour were slowly roused from their indifference (yawn. Another on-demand viewing app?) during a demo Monday morning of “Simpsons World.” For a moment, it felt a little bit like a scene out of HBO’s Silicon Valley, where every new product is touted for its ability to make the world a better place. (For better or worse, this will make the world a place inhabited by people who started playing around with “Simpsons World” and never looked up from their iPads again.)
“Simpsons World” will be accessible to users who get FXX through their cable or satellite providers. The network told reporters it estimates that about 60 percent of TV subscribers will be able to get it, with more expected. (A deal has yet to be reached with Verizon FiOS, for example.) If you post a Simpsons clip on your social network accounts, all your friends and followers will see it, whether or not they get FXX.
For people who want to indulge in The Simpsons the old-fashioned way, FXX (which won exclusive cable and on-demand rights to Simpsons reruns in a 2013 bidding war) will air every episode in order, continuously, for 12 days starting at 10 a.m. Aug. 21.
Kids These Days
Of the big four broadcast networks, Fox is the one that most needs a hit this season. Ratings are down; longtime entertainment chief Kevin Reilly was shown the door earlier this summer and replaced by the two executives (Gary Newman and Dana Walden) who run 20th Century Fox Television, a studio that has ably supplied hits to other networks and now might more easily supply the network with a hit or two. (Yes, it’s hard to keep straight on the executive-level architecture of the various fiefdoms within the Fox empire.)
During a Q&A on Sunday on the press tour, Fox Networks Group chief executive Peter Rice was asked about the decision to shave another 13 hours off the beleaguered American Idol when it returns next spring.
“I think it is aging gracefully,” Rice said of the show. The judge-lineup issues seem to have worked out (with Harry Connick Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban) to the mutual satisfaction of producers and fans. But Idol has lost some of its gleam. Why?
“If I have a criticism of the show for us last year, it is that we haven’t found, in the last two years, a group of kids who have captured the imagination of the public. They’ve been really talented kids, but for whatever reason, there hasn’t been that catalyst behind the show.” With all the singing and talent shows, maybe America’s children are losing the taste for fame? Maybe they’re just not as good? Maybe they’re not there at all?
“Do you ever think there might not be any kids left?” one reporter asked.
Not missing a beat, Rice replied: “We’re always making more.”
Separated by A Common Language
When Fox announced last summer that it was going to remake the British hit miniseries Broadchurch (retitled as Gracepoint, premiering on Fox on Thursday, Oct. 2) everyone wondered if that was such a smart idea. The original, which aired on BBC America, was pretty perfect that way it was. But Fox said the American version would be different enough to lure viewers of the British version.
Well, TV critics have now seen the first two episodes, and they’re remarkably similar to the original. David Tennant, who starred in the British Broadchurch, also plays the same role (with an American accent) in Gracepoint, a murder mystery set in Northern California.
After a number of questions about the similarities (and whether or not the ending will be a surprise), executive producer Carolyn Bernstein finally was compelled to point out the hard truth: BBC America’s viewing audience for Broadchurch, Bernstein said, “represents, really, truly less than 1 percent of the American television viewing population. We’re not particularly worried about the overlap.”
The show’s other executive producer, Dan Futterman, added: “My mom is right down the alley of the BBC America audience, and she started watching ( Broadchurch) and she’s like, ‘I can’t understand a word they’re saying.’ ”
“How rude!” Tennant said.