Who's the most dependable dad in TV history? Ward Cleaver? Mike Brady? Nope, it's Homer Simpson. (D'oh!) Variety reports that Fox has renewed ''The Simpsons'' through the end of the 2004-05 season. At that point, it will have run 16 years and some 360 episodes. Plus, it will have far surpassed the record for longest-running primetime sitcom.
That record is currently held by ''The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,'' which ran on ABC from 1952 to 1966. Like another musician named Ozzy who's recently turned his family life into TV comedy, bandleader Ozzie Nelson created, produced, and starred in that series, during which viewers watched Ozzie and Harriet's sons -- rocker Ricky Nelson and his lawyer brother David -- grow to adulthood. ''Watch out, 'Gunsmoke,' you're next," said ''Simpsons'' producer Al Jean to Variety. That Western, which ran on CBS from 1955 to 1975, holds the record for longest-running primetime drama.
There's also good news for Fox's other animated sitcom dad, Hank Hill. Variety reports that Fox has renewed ''King of the Hill'' through May 2004, which will mark eight full seasons for that series. That show's survival is all the more remarkable given how often Fox has shuffled it around the weekly schedulue. ''This show does anything we ask it to do,'' says Fox entertainment president Gail Berman. Indeed, she's moving it again, to Sundays at 7:30, to make way for midseason replacement ''Oliver Beene.'' at 8:30, after ''Simpsons.''