Page last updated at 09:04 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

The Simpsons to break US record

The Simpsons
A new episode of The Simpsons is to premiere in the UK for the first time

Animated comedy The Simpsons is to become the longest-running prime-time series in US TV history after makers Fox ordered another two seasons.

The show is currently in its 20th season which matches the record of Western drama Gunsmoke, shown on CBS, which ended in 1975.

The 21st season will begin in the autumn with the 22nd airing next year.

The Simpsons was first shown in December 1989, and made its UK debut on Sky in September 1990.

The new commission of 44 episodes over two seasons will bring the total number of shows to 493.

The popular cartoon, featuring Bart, Homer, Marge and other residents of Springfield, has received 24 Emmy awards in its 20 years on screen.

Next month, a new episode of The Simpsons is to have its premiere in the UK for the first time in the show's history.

New episodes are usually shown in the US on Fox a week before being shown on Sky1 in the UK.

In The Name Of The Grandfather, a St Patrick's Day special which details a family holiday to Ireland, will be shown on Sky1 on 17 March.

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