“The Simpsons” Calling it Quits?

Could the end really be near for The Simpsons? It’s possible, according to the show’s creator, Matt Groening.

Groening opened this year’s Animated Encounters, the Bristol International Animation Festival, in England last weekend and spoke with The Financial Times about the show’s future.

“I think we are closer to winding it up. Although, what happens generally if we win the Emmy for best animation show is that that gives us another couple of years to run it into the ground.”

But Groening told the paper that “it becomes increasingly difficult as the years go by to keep on not only surprising the audience, but surprising ourselves.”

The Simpsons is now in its 13th season and was recently placed eighth on TV Guide‘s list of the 50 greatest shows of all time. With characters considered global icons, the show is seen by 60 million viewers in 60 countries.

Fox, the network that has aired the show since its debut in 1989, would be happy to have the series continue forever, Groening says. “I think Fox will wring every last penny out of the show before they call it a day. I have made them billions of dollars, so there is a trace of a smile in their faces when I walk into the room.”

Groening also noted that he is becoming increasingly detached from the creative process and that his suggestions often get over-ruled. “Because animation is such an intensely painstaking process, it wears people out, and audiences are always looking for surprises,” he told The Financial Times. “When any character is as stupid as Homer Simpson, it’s hard to keep surprising the audience.”