Friday, September 8, 2006

The PT Barnum Of Popular Animation: ‘Simpsons’ Producer Al Jean

HOLLYWOOD (Wireless Flash - FlashNews) – Al Jean is executive producer of The Simpsons, whose 18th season debuts on Sunday (Sept. 10) – and he says there’s a collective secret to the success of what he calls “Matt Groening’s smart-ass cartoon.”

Jean swears that even bringing in celebrity guest voices is a collaborative process – though he’s the one who gets to direct the often non-actor stars.

As he puts it: “Who we have on depends on what we and the writers come up with – and who we really love, too.”

With guests scheduled this season like White Stripes, Dr. Phil McGraw and Natalie Portman, among others, Jean says it’s possible The Simpsons have come to fill a modern need for old-time variety shows.

He says that perhaps his show’s success “may owe itself to that sort of carnival or vaudeville need to be entertained” that disappeared with traditional variety shows – right about the time The Simpsons first aired in 1988.

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