WASHINGTON • The Simpsons di- rector-producer David Silverman said last month of the legendary animated show: "We don't want it to end."
Now, it is scheduled to break the record for the longest-running scripted series in television history.
Fox Broadcasting has renewed the show - now in its 28th season - for two more of them, meaning that by Season 30 in 2019, it will have outpaced the western drama Gunsmoke, which concluded after 635 episodes in 1975.
"Take that Gunsmoke! You lost a race you didn't even know you were running!" Homer Simpson, the bumbling patriarch of the beloved fictional family, said last Friday in a statement from Fox.
The Simpsons debuted as a Fox series in 1989, launched by producers Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and the late Sam Simon.
The family - Homer, his long-suffering wife, Marge, and their children, prankster Bart, prodigy Lisa and baby Maggie - have become globally recognised figures. The show, which has won 32 Emmy Awards and was nominated for an Oscar in the animated short category in 2012, often playfully and poignantly satirises American culture.
In its early years, it pulled in more than 15 million viewers regularly and 33 million for its most-watched episode, Bart Gets An F, in 1990.
Homer's catchphrase "D'oh" and Bart's "Ay Caramba" are part of pop culture and the animated family from Springfield even have a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.
The show is syndicated to more than 100 countries and is already the longest-running sitcom and prime-time scripted series in American history. The most recent season, which featured a virtual-reality episode and guest stars including comedian Amy Schumer, has averaged around 7.2 million viewers.
WASHINGTON POST, REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE