Could Disney Finally Cancel 'The Simpsons', And Make More Money In The Process?

The Simpsons has been on for...*checks notes*...500 years, and it shows no signs of stopping. But that might change once Disney takes control of Fox properties as part of the big Disney/Fox deal. It's not that Disney has anything personal against The Simpsons. Instead, it looks like the animated series is worth more dead than alive to the House of Mouse – all because of that sweet, sweet syndication money. Is The Simpsons final season at hand?

According to Variety, Disney is mulling over pulling the plug on one of American TV's oldest institutions – The Simpsons. The animated series is currently in the midst of its 30th season, and there's almost a deal in place to keep the show going till at least season 32. After that, though? It might finally be time to say goodbye to Springfield.

The reason? Money, money, money. In 2013, FX secured cable and streaming syndication rights for the series for a whopping $750 million. But a new syndication deal could make that number look paltry. As Variety explains:

When the first broadcast syndication deals were set for the show in the early 1990s, they were exclusive and open-ended — meaning they ran for as long as the show continued to air original episodes on Fox. Such deals were once common, meant to provide security for producers in a world where cable syndication barely existed and streaming was decades away. But in the case of "The Simpsons," the original deals have kept the Fox studio from being able to fully exploit the show's value.

The FX deal is in place until 2023. Afterwards, if Disney decided to end the show after season 32, it "would free Disney to negotiate a new deal or deals covering broadcast, cable and streaming that would potentially" be worth a heck of a lot more than $750 million. In other words, The Simpsons might be worth even more money cancelled than it is currently airing. The show actually burns money to produce, especially with actor contracts to consider. "It'll set a record because it will be such a huge library," said media consultant Brad Adgate.

When and if this happens, Disney has several options. They could break the show's many episodes up and rotate them, drop them on Hulu, or even add them to the upcoming Disney streaming service Disney+. For now, though, The Simpsons will continue to run new episodes for at least two more seasons.

I used to be a huge fan of The Simpsons. The type of fan who could obsessively quote lines at the drop of a hat. But that was back when the show was, well, good. The first 8-10 seasons of The Simpsons remain some of the best TV ever created. After that, though, the series has dropped in quality significantly. I'd be fine to say farewell to it once and for all.