'The Simpsons' to kill off character this season – but who?

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NEW YORK — "The Simpsons" may be going strong in its 25th season, but a major character from the long-running animated series will soon meet his or her maker.

Last week, executive producer Al Jean revealed plans to kill off a character in the season ahead. "We're actually working on a script where a character will pass away," Jean said. "I'll give a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won't say who it is."

"Simpsons" fanatics know this hint doesn't exactly narrow things down: Nearly every member of the core ensemble of voice-over performers has won an Emmy, including Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Barney, Krusty), Julie Kavner (Marge, Patty, Selma), Hank Azaria (Apu, practically everyone else on the show), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa).

In other words, pretty much anyone could go. Death has come to Springfield in the past, most recently with the untimely passing of Maude Flanders, wife of the Simpsons' preternaturally cheerful next-door neighbor Ned, who bit the dust after falling off a grandstand at the racetrack.

The 25th season of "The Simpsons" premiered Sunday. Jean also teased other highlights in the season ahead, including a "Futurama" crossover episode set to air sometime in May and a wedding, officiated by Stan Lee, for Comic Book Guy.