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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 13:18 GMT
Film prize for real Springfield
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is now in its 18th series on US television
Sixteen US cities named Springfield have been asked to compete to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie in July.

The cartoon series is based in its own fictional town of Springfield - creator Matt Groening has said he chose it because it is a common US city name.

Film company 20th Century Fox will pick a winning short film submitted by the real-life cities about community life.

The fictional Springfield boasts several prisons and a nuclear plant. The series is now in its 18th year.

"There's plenty of serious issues to talk about, but this is something that we might as well try to have a little fun with," the mayor of Springfield, Oregon, Sid Leiken, told local newspaper the Register-Guard.

Worldwide success

The Simpsons revolves around the antics of bald, beer-guzzling family man Homer and his spiky-haired son Bart.

It is the longest-running prime-time entertainment series on television in the US and a worldwide hit.

There has long been speculation about whether it would be turned into a film.

Groening has said that the animated hit would keep going as long as he and his colleagues could keep generating fresh ideas.

"That's what you're looking for in television - surprise," he added.

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