If Fox executives play their cards right, Bart Simpson may finally be able to tell Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny to eat his shorts. The team behind America’s favorite animated family is in a race to further capitalize on The Simpsons' international popularity through merchandising, USA Today reports. But “if the ratings go down, then licensing will decline,” warned one consultant.
The show, which has been renewed through 2011, averages just half the ratings it drew a decade ago, but remains popular. Consumers worldwide plunked down more than $750 million last year on merchandise, which will soon include museum tours and guitars. Creator Matt Groening says he has learned from past marketing blunders, and promises that the show’s quality remains his top priority.