The Simpsons shorts are an American animated TV series of 48 one-minute shorts that ran on the variety television program The Tracey Ullman Show for three seasons, before the characters spun off into The Simpsons, their own half-hour prime time show. It features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie. The series was created by Matt Groening, who designed the Simpson family and wrote many of the shorts. The shorts first aired on May 14, 1989. The Simpsons later debuted on December 17, 1989, as an independent series with the Christmas special "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire".