The Simpsons are going to the record books.
The animated classic is set to pass the legendary Gunsmoke — Homer Simpson outduels Matt Dillon! — as the scripted TV series with the most episodes after Fox renewed it for seasons 29 and 30 on Friday. Gunsmoke, a long-running CBS western, sits at 635, with The Simpsons reaching the 600-episode milestone with last month's "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episode.
In the press-release world of canned statements, Fox offered one from Homer: “Take that, Gunsmoke! You lost a race you didn't even know you were running!”
After a 1989 Christmas special, The Simpsons (Sunday, 8 ET/PT), launched as a series on Jan. 14, 1990, winning 32 Emmys, a Peabody and an Oscar nomination (for the theatrical short, The Longest Daycare) over the course of its run. The series, executive-produced by creator Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Al Jean, also spawned a hit feature film and a popular amusement-park ride.
In addition to Homer, Fox executives celebrated, too.
“This is yet another record-setting moment for what is truly a landmark series,” said Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chairmen of the Fox Television Group. “The Simpsons has meant so much to the network, the studio and everyone at Fox, and its continued cultural impact around the globe is a testament to the combined brilliance of Matt, Jim and Al. Congratulations to everyone who works on this groundbreaking series. … And to the millions of fans around the world, thank you for watching all these years. We’re happy to tell you there’s lots more to come.”