Matthew Abram "Matt" Groening (born February 15, 1954) is an American cartoonist, screenwriter and producer. He is the creator of the comic strip Life in Hell as well as two successful television series, The Simpsons and Futurama. Groening made his first professional cartoon sale of Life in Hell to the avant-garde Wet magazine in 1978. Life in Hell caught the attention of James L. Brooks. In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of working in animation for the Fox variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. The shorts would be spun off into their own series: The Simpsons, which has since aired 629 episodes. In 1997, Groening, along with former Simpsons writer David X. Cohen, developed Futurama, an animated series about life in the year 3000, which premiered in 1999. After four years on the air, the show was canceled by Fox in 2003, but Comedy Central commissioned 16 new episodes from four direct-to-DVD movies in 2008. In 2002, he won the National Cartoonist Society Reuben Award for his work on Life in Hell.