‘Simpsons’ to air live episode featuring fan participation
Live from Springfield, it’s Homer Simpson.
The lovable oaf will be televised live at the conclusion of the May 15 episode of “The Simpsons.” The live three minutes will have Homer talking about topical news and possibly answering questions from social media.
Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “how is it possible that an animated show can go live?” Well, according to Al Jean, the show’s executive producer and showrunner, Homer will be live thanks to motion capture technology.
Jean explained that the longest running sitcom in TV history will be using the tech to have Dan Castellaneta, the actor who has voiced Homer since 1989, act out the character in real time.
“Dan Castellaneta will be in the studio and not only what he says will go out live, but the motions he makes will be incorporated in what Homer does on screen,” Jean said in an interview with CNNMoney on Tuesday.
Jean added that the May 15 show will be a live portion for the East and West coast broadcasts and that the scene will look like the rest of the episode. The only difference is that Homer will be speaking about current events.
“He’ll be saying something current like, ‘can you believe Donald Trump shot a man today’ or whatever is going on,” Jean laughed.
The rest of the broadcast, which took eight months to produce, will be a normal animated episode.
Fans will be able to tweet questions for Homer to answer using the hashtag #HomerLive. They can send him questions between May 1 and May 4.
While just three minutes, Homer going live is another example of TV shifting its focus to more live moments and events.
For example, Fox, brought in 12.2 million viewers for its three-hour live musical, “Grease Live!” at the end of January.
In its 27 years on television “The Simpsons” have done a lot of things, but have never gone live, which Jean says is the reason the show took on the challenge.
“I just thought, ‘wow, we have the technology… yeah, why not be the first,” Jean said. “This is exactly why we still do the show, so we can do stuff like this.”