By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated May 01, 2002 04:27 PM

Sunday nights are safe. Homer Simpson is not going to an early grave, as had been threatened when “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening told London’s Financial Times earlier this week that the 14-year-old Fox staple was winding down production. In fact, Groening, 48, speaking from Los Angeles on Wednesday, told Reuters: “I was misquoted and misunderstood. I don’t want anyone to think I am predicting the demise of ‘The Simpsons.’ They will live on with new adventures for years to come. As long as there are things to make fun of, we will be around.” The international incident that had fans yanking out their hair (and irate fans e-mailing like crazy) was Groening’s remark to the Financial Times, published Tuesday: “I think we are closer to winding it up . . . Although what happens generally if we win the Emmy for best animation show is that that gives us another couple of years to run it into the ground. It becomes increasingly difficult as the years go by to keep on not only surprising the audience, but surprising ourselves.” Groening confirmed that he did make these comments, but insists they were misinterpreted. “I am always asked how much longer can this go on,” he explained to Reuters. “I just said that given the fact that we just finished our 300th episode, I would guess we are closer to the end of our life than the beginning. At the end of our 100th episode (one of our writers) said we were halfway home. Now we think the show will last, our ratings are better than ever.”