The Simpsons Folder
Fox nearly sued itself over ‘Simpsons’ parody: Matt Groening
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)
NEW YORK, Oct 29 (AFP) – Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel threatened to sue the makers of “The Simpsons” over a parody of the channel’s right-wing political stance, the creator of the hit US television show has claimed.
In an interview this week with National Public Radio, Matt Groening recalled how the news channel had considered legal action, despite the fact that “The Simpsons” is broadcast on sister network, Fox Entertainment.
According to Groening, Fox took exception took a Simpsons’ version of the Fox News rolling news ticker which parodied the channel’s anti-Democrat stance, with headlines like “Do Democrats Cause Cancer?”
“Fox fought against it and said they would sue the show,” Groening said.
“We called their bluff because we didn’t think Rupert Murdoch would pay for Fox to sue itself. So, we got away with it.”
Other satirical Fox news bulletins featured in the show included: “Study: 92 per cent of Democrats are gay… JFK posthumously joins Republican Party… Oil slicks found to keep seals young, supple…”
While the lawsuit never materialised, Groening said some action was taken.
“Now Fox has a new rule that we can’t do those little fake news crawls on the bottom of the screen in a cartoon because it might confuse the viewers into thinking it’s real news,” he said.
Fox spokesman Robert Zimmerman voiced surprise at Groening’s comments, sayign the network had never even considered legal action.
“We’re scratching our heads over here,” Zimmerman said. “We thought the show was hysterical.”
“The Simpsons,” featuring the dysfunctional family of patriarch Homer Simpson and his rowdy brood, is now in its 14th year and is expected to become the longest-running situation comedy in US history in 2005.