On this day in 1989, the first episode of television series The Simpsons, “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”, aired in the United States.
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture, society, television and many aspects of the human condition.
The family was conceived by Groening shortly before a solicitation for a series of animated shorts with the producer James L. Brooks. Groening created a dysfunctional family and named the characters after members of his own family, substituting Bart for his own name. The shorts became a part of The Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987. After a three-season run, the sketch was developed into a half-hour prime time show and was an early hit for Fox, becoming the network’s first series to land in the Top 30 ratings in a season (1989â€“1990).
Since its debut on December 17, 1989, the show has broadcast 515 episodes and the twenty-fourth season started airing on September 30, 2012. The Simpsons is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, and in 2009 it surpassed Gunsmoke as the longest-running American primetime, scripted television series.