- The Simpsons (season 23)
The Simpsons Season 23 Country of origin United States Broadcast Original channel Fox Original run September 25, 2011 – Spring 2012 Season chronology ← Previous
List of The Simpsons episodes
The Simpsons' twenty-third season is the current season of The Simpsons. It premiered on September 25, 2011. It will include the 500th episode which is expected to air February 19, 2012. Due to financial difficulties, the network was unable to produce the show under its current contract and unless there were pay cuts this could have been the final season. However, on October 7, 2011, Fox announced that the show had been renewed for two more seasons after the cast agreed to pay cuts.
The season premiere episode "The Falcon and the D'ohman" features a reference to the previous episode of the series, the twenty-second season finale "The Ned-Liest Catch" that aired on May 22, 2011. In that episode, the characters Ned Flanders and Edna Krabappel started dating. The episode ends with Homer and Marge Simpson giving the viewers a link to the official The Simpsons website, TheSimpsons.com, and encouraging them to go on the website and vote over the summer of 2011 on whether Ned and Edna should stay together. Executive producer Al Jean said in an interview that the writers decided it would not be interesting for them to do another episode where a relationship ended, and they thought it would be interesting "to see what people think, [...] the Internet certainly has a lot of opinion on the show, might as well have them have their say." When asked why the writers thought Ned and Edna were the right characters for a cliffhanger like this, Jean said that "In life, unusual things happen. People couple together in ways you would not expect, and he's single and she's single. We thought it would be funny, the fact that they both have these connections to the Simpsons but they never really met or if they have met it was minimal." The result of the poll were revealed in "The Falcon and the D'ohman". According to Jean, the poll was "very strong in one direction." He assured in an interview before the result was presented that the poll was authentic and the writers would not undo the viewers' decision, and added that "What our fans have joined together, let no writer tear asunder."
On October 4, 2011, 20th Century Fox Television released a statement saying: "23 seasons in, The Simpsons is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world. We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come." One of the problems was that The Simpsons was possibly worth more cancelled than on the air. A 17-year-old syndication deal with local TV stations prohibits Fox from selling the show to cable networks. As long as The Simpsons still produces new episodes, Fox can not break this deal. In the mean time, cable networks have grown to become just as big a market as the local TV stations. Another consideration was that Fox's parent company News Corp was having meetings discussing the possibility of a cable channel that would only air The Simpsons episodes. Analyst considers a cancellation and subsequent second-run deal that includes cable networks to be worth $750 million. On this issue, Jean commented in an interview with TV Guide that "It's a big company, and there are definitely people whose interests would have been better served by ending it. Those interests were superceded [sic] because we're still valuable to the network in terms of our ratings."
For the negotiations, the studio requested that the cast members accept a 45 percent cut of their salaries so that more seasons could be produced after season 23, or else that season would be the series' last. The actors were willing to take a pay cut, but wanted a percentage of the back-end payments instead. At one point, Harry Shearer even offered a 70 percent pay cut in exchange for back-end percentages, but the studio was unwilling to make any deal involving back-end percentages. In the end, the studio and the actors reached a deal, in which the actors would take a pay cut of 30 percent, down to just over $300,000 per episode, prolonging the show to its 25th season. As well as the voice actors, everybody involved in the show took a pay cut. This included animators, writers, the post-production crew and even Jean himself. The further use of digital animation also saves money, as the animation of show becomes more efficient.
The season premiere episode "The Falcon and the D'ohman" originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 25, 2011. It was watched by approximately 8.08 million people during this broadcast. It received a 3.9 Nielsen rating in the demographic for adults aged 18–49, and a ten percent share. The ratings were up three percent compared to the last season's premiere. The Simpsons became the second highest-rated program in the 18–49 demographic in Fox's Animation Domination lineup that night, finishing before The Cleveland Show and American Dad! but after Family Guy. The Simpsons was, however, the most-watched show in the lineup in terms of total viewers.
During the twenty-third season, the cost of a 30-second advertising spot would be $254,260 in an original broadcast. It is one of Fox network's more expensive shows to advertise on, with only American Idol, The X Factor USA, Glee, and Family Guy being more expensive.
# Title Directed by Written by Original airdate Prod. code Viewers (million) 487 - 1 "The Falcon and the D'ohman" Matthew Nastuk Justin Hurwitz September 25, 2011 NABF16 8.08 The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant hires a new security guard named Wayne and Homer soon become friends with him. Wayne has to deal with his past work with the CIA in order to rescue Homer from a Ukrainian mafia. Meanwhile, Marge dreams of appearing on the reality series Top Chef.
The voting results from "The Ned-Liest Catch" are revealed.
Guest stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Tom Colicchio and Kevin Michael Richardson.
488 - 2 "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts" Steven Dean Moore Tim Long October 2, 2011  NABF17 6.19 Principal Skinner challenges Superintendent Chalmers to take over Bart's education after one of his pranks. Chalmers accepts and starts teaching Bart about Theodore Roosevelt and manliness. After he takes Bart and his friends on an unauthorized field trip that does not go well, Chalmers gets fired. Bart and his friends then take over the school in an effort to save his job.
Guest star: Theodore Roosevelt via archive recordings
489 - 3 "Treehouse of Horror XXII" Matthew Faughnan Carolyn Omine October 30, 2011 NABF19 8.10 The Diving Bell and the Butterball - A spider bite leaves Homer in a coma and only able to communicate through his flatulence.
Dial D for Diddly - Ned Flanders becomes a murdering neighborhood vigilante after "God" begins speaking to him.
In the Na'Vi - In this parody of James Cameron's Avatar, Bart and Milhouse are chosen to access a sacred extract from Kang and Kodos's home planet.
490 - 4 "Replaceable You" Mark Kirkland Stephanie Gillis November 6, 2011 NABF21 8.00 Homer gets a new assistant named Roz (voiced by Glee's Jane Lynch) who is secretly out to steal Homer's job. 491 - 5 "The Food Wife" Timothy Bailey Matt Selman November 13, 2011 NABF20 7.5
Tired of doing "mom" things, Marge takes the family out to an Ethiopian restaurant and enjoys the food so much, that she starts a food blog with Bart and Lisa, which does not sit well with Homer.Guest stars: Gordon Ramsay, Mario Batali, Anthony Bourdain, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim.
492 - 6 "The Book Job" Bob Anderson Dan Vebber November 20, 2011 NABF22
Bart, Homer, and others write their own fantasy novel for tweens, but the publisher wants to make it into a cliche vampire novel. Lisa learns the shocking truth about the world of tween novel publishing and decides to write her own fantasy novel.Guest stars: Andy Garcia and Neil Gaiman.
493 - 7 "The Man in the Blue Flannel Pants" November 27, 2011 PABF01 Homer becomes Mr. Burns' accountant executive, mentored by an ad pro voiced by John Slattery. Homer begins to forget about his family. Bart gets into classic novels. 494 - 8 "The Ten-Per-Cent Solution" December 4, 2011 PABF02 Krusty the Clown gets a new agent named Annie, voiced by Joan Rivers. 495 - 9 "Holidays of Future Passed" December 11, 2011 NABF18 In this futuristic holiday episode, Bart is a deadbeat dad living in Springfield Elementary (which is now an apartment complex instead of a school) and Principal Skinner is his landlord.
- PABF05 - "Moe Goes From Rags To Riches"
- PABF10 - "Them, Robot"
- PABF11 - "Beware My Cheating Bart" 
- PABF12 - "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again"
- PABF14 - "Lisa Goes Gaga"
- "At Long Last Leave"
- "The Daughter Also Rises"
- "The D'oh-cial Network"
- "Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart"
- "How I Wet Your Mother"
- "Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson"
- PABF13 - "The Spy Who Learned Me" 
Known plots and guest stars
- In the 500th episode, airing February 19, 2012, the Simpsons find out that everyone in town has become sick of their antics and have come together to decide whether or not they should be exiled.
- The Simpsons go to Antarctica.
- Jeremy Irons voices Moe's bar rag in a historical account of its existence.
- Krusty gets his own show on a premium cable channel.
- In "The Daughter Also Rises," Michael Cera voices Nick who is a possible love interest of Lisa.
- In "The D'oh-cial Network", Lisa starts her own social network website. Meanwhile Patty and Selma take part in the Olympic rowing, and race against the Winklevoss twins, who are voiced by Armie Hammer.
- A Christmas episode called "Holidays of Future Passed" which is set 30 years in the future will depict Bart as a "lousy, deadbeat dad who actually lives in the school, which is now a condominium, and Skinner is his landlord." Bart, Lisa, and Maggie will bring their kids over to Homer and Marge's for Christmas dinner. 
- In "The Spy Who Learned Me", Bryan Cranston will play Stradivarius Cain, a suave superspy film character whom Homer sees as an illusion after suffering a head injury, and gives Homer a mission to make himself into the man Marge cannot resist. The episode is slated to air in spring 2012.
- In "Politically Inept, With Homer Simpson", Homer becomes a populist TV pundit with his show "Gut Check with Homer Simpson", and Ted Nugent will play himself as a Republican candidate for President seeking Homer's endorsement.
- In the episode "Lisa Goes Gaga", Lady Gaga is set to guest star. In the episode, Springfield is rated the city with the least amount of self-esteem in America, so Lady Gaga comes to Springfield to cheer up a dejected Lisa through "the power of speech, song and a flash mob."
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