One year after FX Networks announced its landmark deal to secure exclusive cable, VOD and non-linear rights to The Simpsons for FXX, I talked with John Landgraf about how The Simpsons helped save his company’s fledgling network. As I wrote at Adweek,
Not even Landgraf had dared to dream that his near-billion-dollar investment would pay off so quickly. “There’s literally no entertainment channel in the history of cable television that’s done anything like it,” said Landgraf, noting that FXX is still only in 75 million U.S. homes, compared to the 95 million homes that FX, and many of its other competitors, occupy. Thanks to The Simpsons, “FXX is essentially outperforming…and it will be adding 15 of those 20 million over the next two to three years. So I still believe there’s a considerable amount of upside where The Simpsons will ultimately land.”
Landgraf also talked about his risky $750 million bet, the looong rollout of Simpsons World and why (D’oh!) FXX won’t be airing another “Every. Simpsons. Ever.” marathon again.
Best. App. Ever. That’s the early consensus from most of us at TCA summer press tour as FX unveiled Simpsons World, which will allow fans to stream all 552 episodes of The Simpsons, and much, much more.
While John Landgraf had previewed Simpsons World for me earlier this year, this was everyone’s first look at it — and it did not disappoint. At Quartz, I listed five reasons why Simpsons World will change your life — and one reason it might not. Among the five: instant access to every Simpsons episode and clip ever.
Until now, there has never been a way to (legally) stream previous Simpsons seasons. FXX is kicking off its Simpsons run by airing each episode (and The Simpsons Movie) chronologically in a 12-day, round-the-clock marathon. Yet every episode will be available instantly at all times on “Simpsons World,” regardless of which episodes are currently airing on FXX. “Having a space where all of the episodes can be available simultaneously is key,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. (The Simpsons Movie will be available “intermittently,” said FX’s COO and president of program strategy Chuck Saftler.)
Viewers can browse episodes chronologically through each season, and Saftler said he is also working on acquiring the original Simpsons shorts that aired during Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show back in the late ’80s. There will also be a randomizer function that allows you to “spin the bottle and get any episode you want,” said Stephanie Gibbons, president of marketing and on-air promotions, who demoed “Simpsons World” for reporters.
I cannot stress enough how impressive Simpsons World is. This thing looks like a slum dunk.
While at TCA winter press tour, I spoke with Hank Azaria for this Parade piece about his terrific new web documentary series Fatherhood, his biggest parenting mistake and why his son is “freaked out” by his voice acting:
“He doesn’t like when I do voices! He’s four and a half. He’s still a little freaked out by it. He’ll often stipulate before I read a story, ‘No voices, just normal!’ I think he’s particularly worried that the villain is going to have a scary voice. A couple of times, I would kind of go with one of these [he says in a deep-throated, sinister growl]. And he’s like… I kind of knew that from The Simpsons. Kids don’t like it…it flips them out a little bit. It’s too much for them.
Woo hoo! At TCA winter press tour, FX Networks announced that it will create a Simpsons app within its FXNOW streaming app that will finally allow fans to stream all 530 episodes of The Simpsons. FX Networks CEO John Landgraf shared more details with me for this Quartz article:
The Simpsons content will be curated in a separate app, which Landgraf said will be “integrated with and linked through” the FXNOW app. The Simpsons app will contain a multitude of Simpsons clips as well as full episodes (all 530 episodes will be available at all times, not cycled through at various intervals), all of which will “be infinitely cross-referenced and sortable and searchable in various different ways,” Landgraf said.
Landgraf also detailed the app’s big catch, which involves authenticated subscribers, and also talks about FXX’s continued search for its own identity apart from sibling FX.