Home Television UPDATE: “The Simpsons” Faces Ratings Crisis As Audience Drops Below 1 Mil*...

*UPDATED TUES 4PM: With delayed viewing, “The Simpsons” managed to climb to just over 1 million viewers on Sunday. But the crisis still looms as the big numbers that come in over night from major markets remains depressed.

The folks at Fox must be wondering what’s going on. I know I am.

Ratings for “The Simpsons” were below 1 million for the third week in a row last night. The total number of viewers was 970,000.

Two weeks ago I mentioned it when the 33 year old animated hit fell below 1 million for the first time in its history. I figured it was an aberration.

Alas, it wasn’t. Something has happened to trigger an avalanche of the Simpsons ratings. Their weekly base averages 1.5 million viewers, but there are weeks when the numbers are triple that much, or more.

Of course, over 33 seasons you expect a decline. Each season sees a little bit more erosion, but this is the first time it’s of significance.

I actually watched last night’s episode, and it was excellent. It was all about little Lisa Simpson, who has somehow jumped over Bart and entered high school even at her age. She makes a cool friend, a sort of goth girl named Shawna, who plays drums like Sheila E. Lisa, of course, plays a mean sax, so they jam. Homer, meanwhile, has a funny storyline about making micro beer.

Who wasn’t really in the episode? Bart. Three weeks ago it seemed like the same thing. Is lack of Bart as the central character causing depressed ratings? If you’re a fan, chime with an email.

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