Home / World wide / How Krusty the Clown Almost Got His Own Simpsons Spinoff — and Why it Failed

How Krusty the Clown Almost Got His Own Simpsons Spinoff — and Why it Failed

Krusty the Clown almost left The Simpsons for a spinoff — and if his show had been made it would have likely prevented Futuramas creation. The Simpsons has gone through a lot of changes over the years shifting slightly in terms of tone and style so that the series changes with the times. Along the way there have been plenty strange digressions and unique episodes — and even a few opportunities that would have completely changed the trajectory of the show. One such side mission almost changed the fate of another show.

At one point early in the shows run The Simpsons almost got a Krusty the Clown-centric spinoff. But if that series had been produced it would have been a live-action series not an animated one. More disturbingly the spinoff would have likely prevented the recently revived Futurama from ever being created. As one would expect from a show as successful as The Simpsons there have been a few times when the show almost got spinoffs — there was the potential anthology series Tales From Springfield and a proposed Troy McClure film. The most bizarre would have been the spinoff centered around Krusty the Clown one of the series more memorable side characters. Mentioned by series creator Matt Groening during the audio commentary for Season 4s Kamp Krusty which was itself almost the plot for a movie the live-action Krusty the Clown spinoff would have starred Dan Castellaneta — the voice of Krusty the Clown on The Simpsons as well as numerous other characters including Homer Simpson.

As broken down in a Twitter thread by Simpsons mega-fan ThatGuy3002 the spinoff reportedly only made it as far as a pilot script written by Groening and Michael Weithorn and would have opened with Krustys decreasing popularity in Springfield. After being blamed for an accidental death during a mall opening Krusty would be effectively driven out of the town and forced to relocate to Los Angeles. His appearance on a late-night talk show is a ratings smash — partly because the host is comically killed during a virtual reality segment of the same episode. Without a host the network would offer Krusty the show. Described as surreal the show was pitched to Fox who were reportedly interested by the concept — but decided the budget would be far too high for a project of that magnitude.

During a 1999 interview with Entertainment Weekly Groening spoke about the meeting and recalled how I wrote a pilot script in which Krusty moves to L.A. and gets his own talk show. We had this running joke in the script that Krusty was living in a house on stilts and there were beavers gnawing their way through the stilts. But somebody at the network pointed out how expensive it was to hire trained beavers — and an equally prohibitive cost would be to get mechanical beavers — so I said If we animated this we wouldnt be having this discussion. Groening tried to adjust it to be an animated show… but eventually contract negotiations fell apart and Krusty instead remained a part of Springfield.

Krusty The Clown host his own television show
Krusty received increasing attention over the years with the series repeatedly using him to satirize the entertainment industry and giving him a love interest voiced by Anne Hathaway. Meanwhile Groening worked with then-Simpsons writer David X. Cohen to develop what would go on to become Futurama. But the Krusty the Clown spinoff isnt just a footnote in the history of the series; its an indicator of how the Simpsons franchise could have transformed.

In many ways the Krusty the Clown spinoff sounds akin to a larger-budget Space Ghost: Coast to Coast Cartoon Networks absurdist take on the talk-show format from the same era — and could have even been akin to The Eric Andre Show over a decade earlier. It would have changed the face of the long-running franchise and may have cost the world Futurama which likely wouldnt have been produced if Groenings attention was taken up by a series about Krusty the Clown.

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