Simpsons Producer Details Rejected Prince Episode Co-Written By Conan O’Brien

All sorts of Prince stories are surfacing in the wake of the Purple One’s passing, as seemingly everyone has a memory to share about an interesting encounter with the musician/semi-mythical figure. And among all these stories is this one: There was almost an entire Prince episode back in The Simpsons’ fifth season, The Music reports.

Prince had a couple of visual cameos in the show, popping up for a few seconds in “Treehouse Of Horror XIX” and “Radioactive Man,” but the man himself never actually lent his voice to the world of Springfield. According to Mike Reiss, the writer of The Simpsons’ season three premiere “Stark Raving Dad” — which featured Homer’s New Bedlam Insane Asylum roommate Leon Kompowsky, who believed he was Michael Jackson and was voiced partly by Jackson himself — the Prince episode was imagined as a sequel, with Kompowksy returning to Springfield now believing himself to be Prince (and voiced by Prince). The episode would’ve seen Kompowsky-Prince encouraging the people of Springfield to “loosen up, become more flamboyant; everyone becomes more sexually open, they’re dressing in paisley.”

The idea got far enough that a full script was written up by freelance writers Ian Deitchman and Kristin Rusk, plus rewrites by then-staff writer Conan O’Brien. The draft was sent to Prince to look at, and that’s where negotiations started to break down. The show’s creative team received notes from Prince — reportedly mostly about what he was wearing in different scenes — that didn’t seem to correspond to anything in the actual script they had sent. As it turned out, Prince had just decided he didn’t like their script and insisted on using an alternate script written by a mysterious third party — either one of Prince’s friends, his chauffeur, or his house manager, according to various accounts. The Simpsons team didn’t like that script, so the two parties never reached an agreement and the Prince episode fell by the wayside.

After The Music pieced all of this together a couple of days ago, longtime Simpsons writer and showrunner Al Jean took to Twitter to shed some more light on the long-lost Prince episode. As he explains:

And regarding the identity of the mysterious alternate scriptwriter: