400066 01: Cartoonist and creator of "The Simpsons" stands 1992, with a cardboard cutout of Bart Simpson. (Photo by Getty Images)
Movies - TV
How James L. Brooks And A Little 'White Lie' Got The Simpsons Greenlit By Fox
It’s always been extremely difficult to get a television show greenlit on a major network, even iconic shows like "The Simpsons". It may be hard to believe, given the show's impressive 30-year run, but it took a lot of convincing on the part of creator Matt Groening and a little help from executives to bring the first 13 episodes of the series to life.
At the time, Groening was best known for his comic strip “Life in Hell,” and while execs at Fox were definitely interested in Groening’s work, they only wanted six episodes. Then director James L. Brooks stepped in and used his upcoming film deal with Fox to help the show gain some leverage, and the show was slated for a full 13 episodes.
Another executive, Garth Brooks, helped put pressure on Fox by telling his boss, Barry Diller, the little white lie that ABC had offered “The Simpsons” six episodes. As Brooks recalls, “I think [Diller] knew it was a lie and he went along with it anyway knowing this was a good idea. That’s what got Barry to order 13.”