The Simpsons paint Cannes yellow for 20th birthday award

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The Independent Culture
(AFP) -

America's most famous dysfunctional cartoon family, The Simpsons, played Riviera stars of the day Wednesday, winning 20th birthday accolades from the global TV industry and receiving the keys to Cannes.

The animated series is coming up to its 500th episode, making it the longest-running US primetime TV show ever.

But creator Matt Groenig and excutive producer Al Jean, dispelled fears of the imminent demise of Homer, Marge, Bert, Lisa and Maggie

"We think it has at least several years left," Jean told a press conference.

Cannes Mayor Bernard Brochand handed over a yellow key to the city to Groenig and Jean, while proclaiming Wednesday "Simpsons' Day".

Groenig also won an inaugural Creative Icon award from the MIPCOM television trade fair taking place here, the world's biggest such annual event.

Commenting on last year's first movie version of the series, which took an epic four years to complete while also working on the TV series, the pair said a new film was only a distant possibility.

"I suppose someday there might be a sequel, but not yet," Groening said.

Premiered on the then fledgling Fox channel as a half-hour Christmas special on December 17, 1989 and then as a regular series from January 14, 1990, the success of the Simpsons is a TV legend. Today it is broadcast in 45 languages.

"I knew that the show would be a success but I didn't know that it would be so big, last so long and become a global phenomenon," Groening said.

Over the years, the hit series that is also a satire on US society has seen numerous celebrities from Jodie Foster to Rupert Murdoch -- owner of Twentieth Century Fox that distributes the show -- voice over cameo parts.

But no US president, current or former, has ever accepted an invite though President Barak Obama did send a nice rejection, Jean said.

"I think that might be the great white whale we will never land," he added.