NEW YORK -- The Simpsons may be going strong in its 25th season, but a major character from the long-running animated series will soon meet his or her maker.
In a conference call with reporters last week, executive producer Al Jean revealed plans to kill off a character in the season ahead.
"We're actually working on a script where a character will pass away," Jean said. "I'll give a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won't say who it is."
Simpsons fanatics will know that this hint doesn't exactly narrow things down: Nearly every member of the core ensemble of voice-over performers has won an Emmy, including Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Barney, Krusty), Julie Kavner (Marge, Patty, Selma), Hank Azaria (Apu, practically everyone else on the show), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa).
Even a few guest stars have picked up Emmys for Simpsons appearances, including Anne Hathaway for voicing Princess Penelope and Kelsey Grammer for Sideshow Bob.
In other words, pretty much anyone could go. Death has come to Springfield in the past, most recently with the untimely passing of Maude Flanders, wife of the Simpsons' preternaturally cheerful next-door neighbour Ned, who bit the dust after falling off a grandstand at the racetrack.
The 25th season of The Simpsons premiered Sunday night with a Homeland spoof guest starring Kristen Wiig. In the press call, Jean also teased some other highlights in the season ahead, including a Futurama crossover episode set to air sometime in May and a wedding, officiated by Stan Lee, for Comic Book Guy.
-- Los Angeles Times