Created by Matt Groening, The Simpsons started off life as a series of animated shorts on the Tracy Allman show. The shorts were popular, so Fox gave The Simpsons their own half-hour show. On December 18, 1989, the show made its debut and the world was never the same. The show became an unprecedented cultural phenomenon that is still on the air. After their 27th season, which ended in May 2016, 596 episodes of The Simpsons have aired, making it the longest-running prime-time animated series and longest-running sitcom in the United States.