Monday, May 05, 2014

Long-Distance Running

Rugged dependability.

The 550th episode of the Fox cartoon rises from last week's lows ...

The Simpsons grew the most of any series on Sunday night. Following last week's lows, the Lego episode of the cartoon moved up three-tenths of a point for a 1.9 rating with adults under 50. Bob's Burgers (1.1 adults) and American Dad (1.3 adults) were both steady with the previous Sunday, while Family Guy (2.2 adults) and Cosmos (1.4 adults) both improved by two-tenths of a point. Fox took a 1.6 rating with adults 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers. ...

The Simpsons has provided livings for more people over a longer time-span than any show in television history.

And it's likely made more people rich. Fox executives. Fox t.v. producers. Writers. If the artists on it aren't millionaires, at least they've made livings.

But Fox understands a dynamic of prime time cartoons that seems to escape other conglomerates: Animation is an ever-green, spinning off cash decade after decade. (Take The Flintstones. The series was first broadcast in 1960, with spin-offs, sequels and theatrical features popping up with metronomic frequency during the fifty-five years since.)

And then there are the mountains of toys, games and plush toys that provide cash flows for the copyright holders. Live action shows don't have the staying power of their animated counterparts. And they sure as hell don't have the marketing and licensing possibilities of their cartoon counterparts. Few if any hit shows from the early sixties generate serious cash. Few are remembered. But even The Jetsons, which lasted but one season, got resurrected twenty-two years later and ran up a total of 75 half-hours.

Let's see My Mother the Car compete with that.


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