'The Simpsons' gets another season, will pass 500 episodes

simpsons-season22-320.jpg "The Simpsons" will be around for at least one more season, extending its tenure as the longest-running comedy in television history.

The 23rd season will also take the show past 500 episodes (it will end up at 515 by the end of 2011-2012). Only two other prime-time scripted shows, "Gunsmoke" and "Lassie," have ever amassed that many episodes.

"Like many 22-year-olds, 'The Simpsons' is extremely happy remaining at home, on FOX, and hopes it doesn't have to go out into the real world for many years to come," executive producer Al Jean says.

The show is averaging about 8.3 million viewers per episode this season and remains a top 25 show in the adults 18-49 demographic with a 3.9 rating.

"The Simpsons" will feature a return appearance by Ricky Gervais later this season, as well as guest turns by Halle Berry, Rachel Weisz, Jon Hamm, Joe Mantegna as Fat Tony, Martha Stewart, Paul Rudd and Katy Perry, who will appear in a live-action sequence with "Simpsons" puppets.

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Photo credit: FOX