LEGO negotiating Simpsons license with Fox [News]

According to Brickset’s translation of a Danish news article, LEGO Marketing Director Mads Nipper has confirmed that LEGO is in negotiations with Fox to license long-running TV show The Simpsons.

The Simpsons

The Wall Street Journal also quotes LEGO Spokesman Jan Christiansen as confirming the negotiations, but with the vague caveat, “We are continuously looking into new collaboration possibilities.” And a 20th Century Fox spokesperson says, “We can confirm that discussions with Lego have taken place but there are no initiatives to announce at this time.”

As Huw puts it, “It’s rather surprising that news that negotiations are taking place has become public as normally such things are veiled in secrecy until the contract is signed.” Indeed. We ourselves generally hold off reporting on set rumors, but we’d be remiss in our news duties if we didn’t pass this along to our readers, given the confirmation from three separate, official sources.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments.

28 comments on “LEGO negotiating Simpsons license with Fox [News]

  1. Andrew Post author

    I’ll go first: Meh. I haven’t watched The Simpsons in about 10 years. This would’ve been cool back in the 90′s, but I can’t say that the show is particularly relevant anymore.

  2. Antlers

    I think they’re about 20 years too late for this theme to be a success. I don’t think it would help the LEGO brand. I hope to not see it happen.

  3. dshaddix

    I wasn’t aware the show was still on the air (other than syndication). I agree, it became unfunny a good decade ago and is best left alone.

    I am curious about something though. Because LEGO now uses the “fleshie” minifigure exclusively for licensed themes, what color would the Simpsons minifigures be?

  4. Lyichir

    @dshaddix: Licensed themes typically use whatever skin tone is most appropriate. Since the Simpsons are not portrayals of real-life actors, they’d probably be best represented in yellow, as opposed to flesh.

    I can’t help but be skeptical of this coming to pass until more info comes out. It’s bizarre that we would get information about such a thing before the license was even finished being negotiated.

  5. bsipe9

    Is The Simpsons just hitting it’s peak outside the US? Because it hasn’t been a hit in the US for 15 years or so. I can’t imagine there being any appeal in the US outside of a few 30-44 yr old fans who snag them up for nostalgia.

  6. relhak

    Kids watch The Simpsons? Does anyone watch The Simpsons outside of the US?

    And every time I hear about The Simpsons, I think ‘they’re still on the air?’.

  7. Benjamin P

    Ew. Not something I fill my sparse, adult-filled time with, nor is it something I think LEGO’s target audience (kids) should be watching.

  8. Creative Anarchy

    I’m baffled, the show is as old as many AFOLs. I can’t see Lego’s gain other than filling the licenced product slot for another quarter. I didn’t get what lego was going after with TMNT. These are properties who’s huge fanbase have moved on decades ago. I’m watching Mega Blocks pull down gigantic properties with kid appeal, Halo, WoW, Barbie. There’s a lot of ripe opportunities for licenced sets right now, many of them in the Marvel/DC/Disney bailywick. I don’t understand why TLG can’t seem to get their crap together and grab hold of a good licenced property.

  9. wyldjedi

    I am with everyone else… I was not totally sure that Simpsons was still on the air. I am 37 and sort of grew up with the show at a a time when it was a tad more age appropriate for me (goofy teenager). Now that I am an adult I am just ‘meh’. Also, considering how TLG has turned down other licensed themes for not being appropriate, I sort of wonder how Simpsons is any better. This is just way too late in the game for it to work in Lego, at least for me to care. A sideshow Bob minifig does sound cool though.

    As Ochre Jelly pointed out, Futurama would be way more cool and I would totally buy all those up. I also agree with Creative Anarchy; as cool as TMNT is, and as neat and well designed they are, they are just not my thing anymore. There are plenty of new cartoons and anime ripe for the picking, let alone other tv shows and movies.

    The best licensed stuff also has versatility – Star Wars can be added with the space sets, PotC and LotR/Hobbit can be added to castle. Even Ninjago and Chima can be combined with other sets. The problem with TMNT and especially Simpsons is that they are just too specialized, and only die hard fans will go for it.

  10. Chris

    @Creative Anarchy and wyldjedi: regarding the TMNT license, I suspect a major factor in their gaining that license was the 2012 debut of a new TMNT cartoon show. They weren’t simply relying on 20 year old goodwill.

    As for the Simpsons, I’m with Andrew on this: meh. Any new license brings the potential for new pieces, which is what I care about most, but even those possibilities seem slim here (beyond a few funky minifig parts for the characters). Beyond the issue of whether or not the show is popular or not, I don’t see how it is a good fit for LEGO (and I don’t mean its target age). It doesn’t have a unique setting, there aren’t many iconic locations, and unless they start pulling from specific episodes (as opposed to the show broadly), there isn’t even much opportunity for action-based playsets. Still, LEGO could do worse (Ben 10 or Galidor, anyone?), but…meh.

  11. Legodood

    HECK YEAH!!!!
    I can’t wait to buy every set! This series has been on forever and still enjoys massive ratings. The idea of building my own Springfield is by far the COOLEST thing I have ever heard LEGO suggest. Not everyone watches Japanese mech cartoons fellas. Enough just voted for back to the future, but yet complain about the Simpsons?? Seriously? A homer minifig is the single coolest thing I could imagine. I will place the first order the moment it is available for every set LEGO puts out. Probably more than 1. GREAT IDEA!!!!!!!!

  12. LEGOscum

    I’m in my 40s and have never missed on episode of the show, but on a scale of meh to wow this is definitely at the “I can’t believe LEGO is doing this” end of the scale. A Bart keychain would be a novelty but that’s as far as my interest goes. I can see this being another Speed Racer/Spongebob line.

  13. Jai

    Haha, people seriously don’t even know The Simpsons is still on the air? Okay. And some think it isn’t an “appropriate” theme for LEGO? It’s a pretty tame show, although my mom fifteen years ago would disagree (Okay, she would still disagree. Pretty old school, you can’t talk about farts and butts around her sadly).

    I think it’s a fantastic idea. I… don’t know that it’s a fantastic business proposition for LEGO, but I do know that I’m interested in the sets and figures. And I feel that The Simpsons is a perfect fit for LEGO — the world is vibrantly colorful and simple, and the characters are yellow-skinned. This is “duh-doy” simple.

    If I were brokering this deal, I think the best choice for LEGO would be for them to use it to create a second line of collectible minifigures. Sounds pretty much like the perfect use of what The Simpsons has to offer (Hundreds of distinct, interesting characters LEGO’s already wildly-successful CMF “mystery” bags), although part of me also really wants to see what kind of sets LEGO might come up with.

  14. Jai

    Sorry, that should be “Hundreds of distinct, interesting characters plus LEGO’s already wildly-successful CMG ‘mystery’ bags”. The plus sign was filtered out of the message.

  15. peterab

    I can’t believe no-one has stated the obvious. Are you all ignoring the elephant in the room?

    Monorail.

    Need I say more :-)

  16. kurisu7885

    I really wish Lego would stop going after these older TV shows and start grabbing some video game licenses. I want Mario Lego, I want Legend of Zelda Lego, I want WoW Lego.

    Stop letting Megabloks get them all!

  17. Optimus Prime

    I just received an email from LEGO stating that the negotiations at this point are just rumor. The rep said they were thinking about negotiating for the Simpson’s license.

  18. Andrew Post author

    Why the heck would two known LEGO reps talk to two major news outlets (including the WSJ) to acknowledge that negotiations are indeed taking place, and then have the company call the whole thing a “rumor.” That’s not a rumor, that’s the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Or not knowing what the word “rumor” means.

  19. Josh

    I really don’t care about a Simpson’s license, one way or the other.

    What gets my boxers in a twist is how LEGO is constantly riding the fan sites about posting leaks and then two of their reps talk about negotiations which are normally kept confidential. Talk about mixed messages. In my book their credibility has dropped even lower, which I didn’t think was possible.

  20. Jake of All Trades

    Fun, except that The Simpsons is more character-based than prop-based. Themes like Batman work because there is unlimited potential for creative vehicles, weapons, and structures. What can you build out of LEGO for The Simpsons? OK the couch, maybe the car, and the house? Sector 7G control panel? Richard Simmons defense android?? That’s about all I can think of beyond minifigs…

    Futurama, on the other hand, has lots of cool brickable stuff. The Planet Express Building would look great in LEGO form, for one thing. And of course all the ships, robots, and aliens.

  21. gladeye

    Why would The Simpsons be inappropriate? Because they don’t have guns, swords, or finger missiles? I get a kick out of all the “what, is that show still even on tv?” comments. You know it is and you know the ratings for it are as high as ever. Pretending to be unaware because you are somehow above it is snotty, not funny. Sorry it’s not the same standard as Spongebob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and (probably) The Lone Ranger. I agree, the best episodes were 10 years ago, but it’s the longest running and most consistently clever thing on TV. I’m a teacher and almost every kid I know was VERY EXCITED to hear Simpsons may finally exist. I will eagerly buy every one.

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