Pizza Hut to sponsor The Simpsons on C4

Pizza Hut has signed up for the high-profile sponsorship of The Simpsons, which makes its Channel 4 debut next Friday night.

The sponsorship deal is one of Channel 4's biggest; The Simpsons is a key part of its autumn schedule and the channel will need to recoup the reported $1 million it paid for the terrestrial rights for each episode.

It has not been revealed how much Pizza Hut paid for the 12-month deal, which was negotiated by Starcom Motive and Channel 4. Pizza Hut becomes the second pizza company to be associated with the series and its greedy protagonist Homer Simpson; on Sky One, Domino's Pizza is the sponsor of the show.

Channel 4 has scheduled its back-catalogue of The Simpsons in the 6pm slot from Sunday to Friday. However, it will broadcast the newest series, series 12, at 9pm on Fridays. This 9pm slot had caused a ratings headache for Channel 4 since Friends, which had occupied the space for a decade, ended last year.

Channel 4 beat five to the terrestrial rights of The Simpsons. The BBC also dropped out when the bidding got too high. Channel 4's in-house agency, 4 Creative, will create the Pizza Hut sponsorship break bumpers.