They have been a TV fixture for almost 30 years, but The Simpsons could finally be “coming to an end” according to Danny Elfman, the man behind its famous theme tune.
Speaking on a podcast hosted by the site joe.ie, the 66-year-old said he was aware of plans to stop the long-running series after its current run. “From what I’ve heard it will be coming to an end,” said Elfman. “I don’t know for a fact, but I’ve heard that it will be in its last year.” He went on to express his surprise at the show’s success. “I’m so flabbergasted and amazed that it has lasted as long as it did … you have to realise, when I scored The Simpsons, I wrote this crazy piece of music, and I expected no one would hear it, because I really did not think the show had a chance in hell.”
Created by Matt Groening, The Simpsons is currently the world’s longest-running animated show, and the longest-running US sitcom of all time. It started life as a segment on Fox’s Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, before it was developed into a standalone show, which has run for 670 episodes to date.
At its peak, it was a pop culture phenomenon, making household names of Homer, Marge and their offspring. Starry cameos ranged from Stephen Hawking to Paul McCartney, and Homer Simpson’s “d’oh” catchphrase was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2001. A film spinoff, The Simpsons Movie, also brought in over $500m at the box office in 2007.
While the show’s popularity has waned in recent years, with ratings at an all-time low for its 30th season finale earlier this year, its recent Treehouse of Horror Halloween special was watched by a respectable 5.7 million viewers in the US. The show currently airs on Channel 4 and Sky One in the UK, and Fox and Disney+ in the US, with the nascent streaming service pushing the series heavily in promotional materials.
Early this year, the show attracted attention for withdrawing an episode featuring the voice of Michael Jackson from TV and streaming services, in light of the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland. Prior to that, the show’s makers were embroiled in controversy regarding the character of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, the Hindu convenience store owner seen by many to perpetuate racist stereotypes. Fox have been approached for comment.