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Archived News: November 2003
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The Fat And The Furriest
Another new episode airs in North America tonight. This one is titled 'The Fat And The Furriest', and is the first episode this season that hasn't sparked a heap media attention. Here's a description from snpp.com: "After another failed Mother's day gift, Homer takes the kids to Sprawl-Mart and ends up buying a Kitchen Carnival for Marge. Homer uses the Carnival to create an edible candy man, but Marge finally forces him to take it to the Springfield Dump - where he's promptly attacked by a bear. When he's labelled a coward by the media, Homer builds a bear-fighting suit, and after some "Jackass" style testing antics sets out to confront the bear, parodying the little-known Canadian documentary "Project Grizzly." Catch it tonight on Fox.

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Brave Combo To Springfield
Brave Combo has been nominated for Grammy awards. The Denton-based polka, etc. band has won one of the prestigious music business statues. Brave Combo has toured the world, and is able to fill dance floors with the strains of "The Chicken Dance". But right now the band is understandably excited about getting to work alongside The Simpsons. That's correct: It appears as if Brave Combo's tour road is going to take the group through Springfield next year. Word from Brave Combo world headquarters is that Matt Groening, The Simpsons creator, is a fan, so plans are in the works to animate the band for an appearance in a Simpsons episode that'll run sometime during the first quarter of 2004. Read More >>>

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Ratings: Regina Monologues
The Simpsons visit to England was one of the most publicised episodes this year, lets see how it fared in the fast national ratings. "CBS averaged an 11.8 rating/18 share in primetime, far ahead of second-place NBC's 7.3/11. FOX was third at 5.5/8. Among adults 18-49, CBS led with a 4.8 rating and FOX averaged 4.1. CBS kept the lead at 8 p.m. with 60 Minutes, 11.7/17. FOX moved up to second with The Simpsons, which posted a 7.0/10 for The Regina Monologues at 8 and a 7.1/10 for a rerun of Brake My Wife Please at 8:30." Bit of a change from the third placed ranking it's been receiving. These episodes came in at #26 and #27 with just over 12 million viewers for the week.

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The Fans Speak Out On BBC
In what may be a case of selective editing, US fans of The Simpsons have told CBBC Newsround that last night's episode featuring Tony Blair and J.K. Rowling was one of the funniest they've seen. Of course, this isn't the opinion of everyone, but a number of opinions were posted on BBC for the UK fans who want to know if they were treated right. Nicole-Leigh, 14, said: "Oh my gosh, the episode of The Simpsons with JK Rowling was great. For all you Brits, YOU GOTTA SEE IT!!!!!" The episode will air in the United Kingdom in January, where it is bound to rake in the viewers. More Opinions >>>

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The Regina Monologues
Time for the fourth episode of Season 15 already! In tomorrow night's episode titled The Regina Monologues, "Mr. Burns loses a thousand-dollar bill that is turned into the main display at the Museum of Modern Bart. After Burns shows up to reclaim his money, Bart realizes he still earned enough from charging admission to take the Simpsons to England. When they arrive, Marge begs Homer to make this an incident-free trip, which he actually succeeds at until he accidentally runs into the Queen. Now the only thing that will earn Homer a stay of execution is whether he can uncover the plot to poison her majesty." The episode has been heavily promoted in the media for it's guest stars, Tony Blair, J.K. Rowling, Ian McKellen, Evan Marriott, and Jane Leeves.

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Eric Idle Appearance Update
It's now official, Eric Idle has recorded his lines for the second appearance of the documentary film maker on The Simpsons, expected for Season 16 or the end of Season 15. Idle writes in his diary: "Yesterday I did my guest shot on The Simpsons. It took all of fifteen minutes, but then I have my David Attenborough voiced down and there wasn't a lot to do. Most of the time was spent waiting for the guys in LA to come on line. When they did we breezed through it in four quick takes in a pleasant recording studio, Audio for the Arts on South Blair Street, where they do the Onion. Madison was the original home of The Onion, before it moved to NY and they still do the radio bits from here."

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Canada Kids Love Simpsons
The Simpsons is the most popular television show among Canadian children, according to a new survey of kids aged 8 to 15 to be released today. The barely functional Simpson family, first introduced 13 years ago, has had a profound impact on North American culture, so much so that George Bush Sr. declared during the 1992 election: "We're going to keep trying to strengthen the American family, to make them more like the Waltons and less like the Simpsons." Clive Vanderburgh, a professor in Ryerson U's School of Radio and Television Arts says "Although the subject material may not be for kids, it's an animated form and it's stripped down in a way that makes it seem appropriate for kids. The slapstick and rude behaviour drives parents crazy." Read More >>>

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SLO Not An Inspiration
"Homer Simpson is not based on any local resident and Bull's Tavern is not the basis for Moe's Tavern in The Simpsons. In short, San Luis Obispo County was not the inspiration for the fictional town of Springfield, despite long-standing rumors inspired by some shared peculiarities -- a twin-domed nuclear power plant, a coastline with a huge rock just off the beach, and a former television news anchorman who resembles Kent Brockman, the show's stiff-haired TV reporter. No way, says Mike Reiss, one of the show's producers who was one of the first people hired to help write the show some 15 years ago. "San Luis Obispo has less to do with 'The Simpsons' than every other town in America." That's a compliment." Read More >>>

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Ratings: President Wore Pearls
Preliminary ratings for last night's episode are now available: For the night, CBS averaged a 9.1 rating/14 share. ABC claimed second at 7.3/11, edging NBC's 7.1/11. FOX was a close fourth at 6.8/10. Among adults 18-49, FOX came out ahead with a 5.0 rating in the coveted demographic. CBS moved to the front at 8 p.m. with the 9.3/14 for "Cold Case." ABC was second with the 8.2/12 for the first hour of the AMAs. Two episodes of "The Simpsons" (The President Wore Pearls, rerun of The Bart Of War) averaged a 7.0/10 on FOX.

For the week, The President Wore Pearls scored 12.74 million viewers at #25, and The Bart Of War got 12.32 million at #32.

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The President Wore Pearls
Season fifteen ploughs along nicely tomorrow night with the airing of a new episode titled "The President Wore Pearls". In the episode, Lisa decides to run for student body president, but is dismayed to discover she is running against Nelson. When Lisa debates him she is unable to win any points with her classmates until she sings a song expressing how she feels. The other kids are moved to tears and her popularity soars. After winning the election, Lisa vows to make the school a better place but soon finds herself being made over by the teachers and tricked into cutting popular programs. Appalled by the turn of events, Lisa and the kids stage a revolt and enlist filmmaker Michael Moore to support their cause. Don't miss it!

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Tony Blair Gets Animated
This is Tony Blair as you've never seen him before. But the trademark cheesy grin and sticky-out ears are still there in the first picture from the Prime Minister's guest appearance in an episode of comedy series The Simpsons. Mr Blair, who watches the hit show with his children, has a chat with Homer Simpson in a special episode set in Britain called The Regina Monologues. The Simpsons pay a visit to Downing Street for a nice cup of English tea. But it looks like beer-loving Homer is less than impressed with the tea - in patriotic Union Jack mug - as he pours it on the floor while chatting with Mr Blair. The Prime Minister gives tips on London's top attractions as they talk in front of a portrait of a rather bemused-looking Queen. Read More >>>

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Marge Vs. Jessica Simpson
"This is a good time to be Jessica Simpson. Sure, she's as dumb as a doorpost, but the girl has it going on. She graces the cover of Rolling Stone magazine this week, has the best MTV series ("Newlyweds") of the past 10 years and has just signed with ABC to do a sitcom. These are good days for Marge Simpson, too. She's just started her 15th season on "The Simpsons," still one of Fox's highest-rated shows. But which Simpson is superior?" Comparing their food, husbands, best assets, virtues, fear factor, and great quotes, KnoxNews attempts to find an answer. Highly informative stuff, choose which Simpson you love best. Read More >>>

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Michael Moore Animated
Documentary filmmaker and activist Michael Moore will be the next to make a special guest voice appearance on The Simpsons. An Oscar winner for "Bowling For Columbine," Moore will appear on the episode, "The President Wore Pearls", which airs at 8pm on Sunday. Moore had this to say about his appearance: "Ever since Bart's class went to the box factory in Flint a number of years ago, I have hoped to make it on 'The Simpsons' one day. However they draw me is bound to be an improvement on the original thing." Moore will star as himself, helping Lisa in a revolt at Springfield Elementary. We'll tell you more about this episode in our reminder on the weekend.

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Ratings: My Mother The Carjacker
Here's the fast ratings for this weekend: Overall for the evening, CBS averaged a 10.6 rating/17 share, well ahead of NBC's 8.7/14. ABC held onto third with a 5.8/9, beating FOX's 5.4/8. Among adults 18-49, CBS scored victory with a 4.9 rating. This race was closer, as NBC was close behind in second with a 4.5 rating, followed by FOX's 4.3. Fueled by "60 Minutes" overrun, "Cold Case" gave CBS the 8 p.m. hour with a 9.8/15. In a regular twist, a new episode of "The Simpsons" (My Mother The Carjacker) earned a 6.8/11 for FOX, but was beaten by the repeat of Three Gays Of The Condo which followed it with a 6.9/10.

For the week, Nielsen reports My Mother The Carjacker received 12.4 million viewers (ranked #30) while Three Gays Of The Condo got 12.6 (#28).

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Health And The Simpsons
What would happen if you pitted Bart Simpson against his father Homer in a simple fitness test? You guessed it, Bart would come out of the test still standing, while Homer would be struggling for breath with his heart rate going through the roof. Young Scientist magazine, published by Institute of Physics Educational Publishing, is running a national investigation into school children's activity levels. If Bart took part in this, he would have no problems. He obviously hasn't been taking notes from his father, as Homer would not do nearly as well. The Institute did some research into the Simpsons' lifestyle. By watching videos of the cartoon and recording how much activity Bart and Homer do in the episodes, as well as how much they eat, Institute staff then worked out how fit and healthy they are. Read More >>>

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Writers Discuss Satire On TV
Scholarly academics and enthusiastic fans of The Simpsons and King Of The Hill filled an auditorium in the Stanford Psychology building Friday afternoon for a discussion with Paul Lieberstein, Greg Daniels and John Collier, three veteran writers of the animated shows. The event was called "Homer, Hank & the American Dream: Social & Political Satire on American Television." The discussion was preceded by a series of short clips from The Simpsons that drew loud bursts of laughter from the audience, including one clip that made fun of Stanford. The discussion developed into a question-and-answer session on the writers' approaches to creating episodes and storylines. Read More >>>

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My Mother The Carjacker
Season 15's "official premiere" airs tomorrow night, Sunday November 9, with an episode titled 'My Mother The Carjacker.' Minor spoilers follow, with thanks to snpp.com. "When Marge wins a t-shirt for sending in a newspaper blooper, jealous Homer goes A Beautiful Mind trying to find his own headline gaffe until he discovers a real secret message -- which reunites him with his Mom! Unfortunately he accidentally delivers her to the police station, though a quick trial has her out in no time. But after a vengeful Burns has her reincarcerated it's up to Homer to save her from jail time once and for all." The episode will be followed by a repeat of Season 14's Three Gays Of The Condo. For a preview of the new episode, check out this teaser direct from Fox.

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Simpsons Canada Connection
The likes of Joe Millionaire and American Idol are no laughing matter for Homer Simpson and, more specifically, scribes like Canadian Tim Long. The executive producer and senior writer of The Simpsons says comedy writers are an endangered species in today's TV landscape. "I'm incredibly lucky to be here. I'm going to ride the wheels until they fall off," says the 34-year-old Brandon, Man., native, who collaborated with former Calgarian Joel Cohen on the episode that saw the Simpsons visit Canada. "Reality-TV is a permanent fixture because it's cheap to produce. But people here have flipped out. A lot of writers came here during the great comedy boom of the '90s when Seinfeld really hit. But all those jobs have sort of dried up." Read More >>>

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Simpsons Evolves As Industry
D'oh!? Perhaps it really should be 'Dough!' With original shows in production, several reruns a day in syndication and thousands of items that now feature the faces and voices of its unforgettable characters, The Simpsons is an industry unto itself. New Simpsons episodes do just fine in the ratings � often in the top 25 for the week � though they rarely break the top 10. But that doesn't really matter: What the show delivers consistently is a spectacular audience mix of kids and adults, often topping its time slot among viewers 18-34. One of Fox's key strategies has always been to program to that younger audience, which remains a coveted prize among advertisers, but The Simpsons delivers it in addition to younger children and teens. Read More >>>

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Simpsons Back From The Pit
Opinion: "Three years ago, I argued The Simpsons had lost its soul and devolved into an uneven, slapsticky mess that needed to be put to a respectable death. At that point, it seemed that the show�s creators were hopelessly on a track to TV hell, allowing the show to drift toward ever-coarser humor and a lowbrow view of the world that bore little resemblance to the subtle work of earlier years. I won't say they�ve fully cured themselves. Jerkass Homer, as old-time fans called him, can still dominate the screen. But the show has finally evolved into a modern incarnation that retains its heart without feeling tired or bouncing from gag to gag like Homer tumbling down the side of Springfield Gorge." Read More >>>

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Eric Idle To Reprise Role
Famous for his Monty Python roles, Eric Idle appeared on The Simpsons early this year as a British documentary film maker in the episode 'Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky.' His role was so well-received by fans and creators alike, that they've asked him back! Idle writes in his online journal: "My pals on the The Simpsons are after me again to reprise my role as a British documentary film maker. (Quite a stretch eh?) They say they'll record my voice anywhere we have a day off. I have two very good friends on The Simpsons - Dave Mirkin, who is a very funny, dry, guitar-playing writer, director and producer and Harry Shearer, the grouch's grouch whom I have always adored as he can make me look quite pleasant by comparison." We look forward to his appearance, expected in Season 15 or 16.

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Scully/Thacker's New Project
Icon Productions and Universal have placed a put comedy pilot at ABC, to be executive produced by Mel Gibson, producing partner Bruce Davey, and series creators Julie Thacker and Mike Scully. The half-hour comedy series is about a blue-collar single father who is raising five boys on his own, who range in age from 13-17. Former Simpsons writer Thacker and writer/producer Scully will serve as executive producers and writers/show runners. "There are no better comedy writers than Mike and Julie and we have been looking for a project to do together for some time." said Bruce Davey. "Mike and I decided to do a comedy about five boys because we have five girls and, trust me, there's nothing funny about that," said Thacker. With Scully adding, "Julie's a very lucky woman to be working with the sexiest man alive, and Mel Gibson." Read More >>>

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Lord Love A Lefty
Ma Bo, from the Chinese city of Dalian, has opened the country's first shop for left-handed people. "I just want to help the lefties with these special daily-use products, so they can lead an easier and more convenient life," Ma said. He also operates a Web site for the same purpose - with the slogan "Left is Best." It "promotes understanding about problems concerning the left-handed." Ma's shop features myriad accessories for left-handers, from scissors to can openers. It's no small affair in a society where people who use their left hands are often scorned. "I'm delighted to see that business people are beginning to show an interest in left-handed products," said Zhang Heng, a Beijing left-hander. Ma's only apparent problem? He's right-handed.

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Ratings: Treehouse Of Horror
On the first Sunday of the November sweep, FOX finally launched the premieres for most of its popular Sunday night comedies, but it was an event 75 years in the making that helped carry CBS to the win for the night. The beginning of the network's "CBS at 75" special carried CBS to a 12.2/18 at 8 p.m., enough to win the hour. The "Treehouse of Horror XIV" episode of The Simpsons pulled in an 8.8/13 and a repeat of "Barting Over" scored an 8.4/12 to give FOX second for the hour. ABC was third with "10-8." Among adults 18-49, though, FOX scored a convincing victory with a 6.0 rating in the key demographic.

For the week, the new Simpsons ranked at #8 with 16.22 million viewers nationwide. The rerun occupied position #15 with 14.35 million. Its competition, "CBS At 75" came in at #6 with 18.19 million.

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Professor In Simpsons Cameo
Nobel prize-winning Harvard chemist Dudley R. Herschbach's skin turned an unusual shade of yellow yesterday, but not to worry: the energetic professor�s affliction was not the result of an introductory chemistry demo gone wrong. Herschbach, a laureate since he took home the chemistry prize in 1986, made a special cameo as himself on "Treehouse of Horror XIV." This was Herschbach�s first experience as a cartoon, and he was satisfied with his animated, yellowed-self. "I thought it was a great improvement," he said. In the episode, which aired last night, Herschbach presents Professor Frink with a Nobel Prize in science for reanimating his deceased father. The father runs amok during the ceremony, stealing the brains of several members of the audience and shoving them into his own head. Read More >>>

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Never An Issue With The FNC
Last Thursday we reported that the Fox News Corporation threatened to sue The Simpsons over its news crawl joke. Countless media outlets followed, with the story being published on most major news sites and newspapers. Fox News later denied reports that they ever threatened to sue. "We were all scratching our heads and thought it was hysterical," spokesman Rob Zimmerman said. "It's not the first time we've been spoofed, you know." It seems they were telling the truth, with The Simpsons creators releasing an apology on the matter. "Matt was being satirical and certainly there was never any issue between the show and Fox News. We regret any confusion." Since we were one of the first to publish the story, we thought we'd clear that up.

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