Today I ran into a veteran Simpsons artist who told me:
"We know that they're writing new Simpsons scripts, but nobody on staff has been told that we're doing another season. Everyone is just waiting ..."
But if Harry Shearer on MSNBC can be believed, there will be a 21st season of the Yellow Family, so move over Gunsmoke ...
What's made the artistic crew at Film Roman/Starz increasingly nervous has been the cutting of staff and the replacement of producers. The layout department has been streamlined and the art has gone digital, even as the show shifted to high def.
So now The Simpsons (allegedly) launches into another season, and the artists who make the visuals happen will have additional employment. At a time of financial turmoil and meltdown, this is a good thing. But as an artist at Family Guy said last week:
"Most of Fox Television's successful franchises are built around animation. Why would they give that up now? It's what keeps the company afloat."