'THE Simpsons' will celebrate its 500th episode next series.
The animated series - which focuses on the exploits of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie - has been commissioned for a 23rd season which will start in autumn 2011.
The landmark episode will be broadcast in 2012 and the next run of episodes will extend 'The Simpsons' record as the longest running American primetime entertainment series.
Executive producer Al Jean: "That you get to keep doing it is the greatest thing. That we got to do 50 of these, much less 500, is a thrill."
Jean insists one of the biggest challenges facing the team now is trying to keep the storylines fresh and original after 500 shows.
He added: "Part of my job is being the grumpy guy who says, 'No, we did that, we did that.' Once you hit on something you haven't done, we've got these great characters and voices and this terrific production that turns it into something really special."
'The Simpsons' is one of the best-loved TV shows in the world and has featured numerous celebrity cameo appearances over the years, creating animated versions of Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Simon Cowell.
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