The Simpsons' latest return to our TV screens is a bonafide hit. According to newly-released ratings, The Simpsons' Season 32 premiere, "Undercover Burns" garnered 5.5 million total viewers, with a 2.0 rating among the adults 18-49 demographic. This is more than double what the Season 31 premiere earned, with "The Winter of Our Monetized Content" getting 2.33 million viewers in 2019. This great performance might be thanks to the NFL lead-in, which traditionally leads to strong performances for whatever programming follows it. The rest of FOX's "Animation Domination" block also fared well on Sunday night, with Bless the Harts returning to 2.2 million/0.8, Bob's Burgers earning 1.8 million/0.7, and Family Guy getting 1.7 million/07.
The Season 32 premiere brought some interesting firsts for the series, including a new voice actor for the long-running supporting character Carl Carlson. The Flash and Becker star Alex Désert voiced Carl, taking over the role from Hank Azaria for at least that episode. This comes after the series' creative team promised to no longer have white actors voice non-white characters, a change that was announced earlier this summer amid conversations of social justice and Black representation in media. Earlier this year, The Simpsons confirmed that it would also be scaling back appearances of Apu (who was also voiced by Azaria), after years of backlash from fans and the documentary The Problem With Apu.
“I think it’s really important when people express themselves about racial issues, what they feel is unfair or upsetting or distressing or makes them angry, sad or hurt,” Azaria said in a 2018 interview. “The most important thing to do is listen, try to understand, try to sympathize, which is what I’m doing. I know that The Simpsons guys are doing that too; they’re giving it a lot of thought, and we’ve discussed a little bit. They will definitely address — maybe publicly, certainly creatively within the context of the show — what they want to do, if anything, with the character.”
What do you think of The Simpsons' ratings for its Season 32 premiere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!