Breaking News - Homer Drinks Guinness!

Details have emerged of a 'secret' St Pat's Day deal between the Simpsons cartoon show and one of Ireland's own icons, Guinness.

For the first time in 20 years, Homer will swap his beverage of choice, Duff beer for a drop of the black stuff in a St Patrick's Day episode of The Simpsons - but its all been revealed to be part of an advertising tie up for the Irish stout's 250th birthday.

Homer makes the switch in the new episode, In The Name Of The Grandfather, which details the dysfunctional family's holiday to Ireland and will be shown on Sky1 on 17 March.

Speaking at 'The Media Summit' a major event for top executives from TV, film, online, video games, music and advertising, Saatchi and Saatchi EMEA Chief Executive Simon Francis revealed all.

He told the high level meeting of advertising gurus in London this week that the deal had been struck between Simpson's creator Matt Groening and St Jame's Gate executives to help create "excitement" around the iconic Irish brand.

The broadcast will see Homer and his family in various Irish locations including the Giant's Causeway, the picturesque Blarney Castle and the Guinness Brewery in Dublin.

Also, for the first time in its two decades of broadcasting, this Simpons episode will be shown in Europe ahead of the USA.

Mr Francis told the meeting of top media people that such steps were necessary as advertisers were facing a market that "had fragmented categories, brands and media, and the industry had to use radical new techniques to appeal to consumers".

Homer Simpson is indeed proving to be a radical concept with the Dublin deal being an international coup for Guinness too.

Executives in Dublin will be all the happier now that it has been revealed that the animated comedy is shortly to become the longest-running prime-time series in US TV history after makers Fox ordered another two seasons.

The show is currently in its 20th season which matches the record of Western drama Gunsmoke, shown on CBS, which ended in 1975.

The 21st season will begin in the autumn with the 22nd airing next year.

The Simpsons was first shown in December 1989, and made its UK debut on Sky in September 1990.

The new commission of 44 episodes over two seasons will bring the total number of shows to 493.

The popular cartoon, featuring Bart, Homer, Marge and other residents of Springfield, has received 24 Emmy awards in its 20 years on screen.

The Simpsons' executive producers, along with Nancy Cartwright - who voices picaresque Bart - will be visiting Ireland to promote the show over the St Paddy's Day holiday.

They are expected to be guests of honour in the traditional saint's day parade thorough Dublin by way of celebration.


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