Yesterday, the Simpsons passed the impressive milestone of 30 years on television. Two years after the dysfunctional but loveable family from Springfield made their first appearance on the Tracey Ullman Show on April 19, 1987, Fox handed The Simpsons its own program. Since then, it has grown to become an American institution. Whether or not it will still be around to celebrate another 30 year run is an intriguing question.
In its earlier seasons, the show did very well in terms of its average viewers. More recently however, Springfield has started losing that spring in its step with its viewer base eroding significantly. According to Nielsen, season 27 had an average of 4 million viewers while season 17 had over double that number. The decline in ratings may not be due to the show and its cast of characters, however. These days, viewers have a much bigger selection of content to browse with seemlingly endless ways to watch it. With the onset of Netflix and on demand content, it may well be that The Simpson's viewership decline is a natural result of this trend.