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"The Simpsons" Is Planning to Kill Off a Major Character

I hope it's not Poochie

It's been 14 YEARS since "The Simpsons"killed off Maude Flanders . . . and now, the producers are planning on killing off another regular character.

Executive producer Al Jean says, quote, "I'll give you a clue that the actor playing the character won an Emmy for playing that character, but I won't say who it is."

That's not saying much . . . since almost all the major characters have been rewarded with an Emmy over the years.

HARRY SHEARER is the only one of the six regular voice actors from "The Simpsons" NOT to have won an Emmy, so his characters . . . which include: Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, Principal Skinner and Otto . . . are SAFE.

There's virtually no chance that the show kills off Homer, Marge, Bart or Lisa Simpson . . . so the list of potential killed-off characters would include:

Grandpa Simpson, Apu, Moe, Edna Krabappel, Barney, Krusty the Clown, Carl . . .Chief Wiggum, Comic Book Guy, Duffman, and Sideshow Bob, who KELSEY GRAMMER won an Emmy for voicing back in 2006.

There are others as well . . . but if it's truly a main character, you'd have to think they're not going to go for a smaller character than these. (Who knows though . . . it's unclear how he was defining a "regular" character.)

Also, he didn't note WHEN this would happen . . . so there's a chance it doesn't even go down this season.

Meanwhile, Al did confirm that the season finale next spring is going to be a "Simpsons" / "Futurama" crossover episode.

He also said the Comic Book Guy will get married this season, and that the ceremony will be performed by comic legend STAN LEE, who's playing himself.

Other celebrities who are lending their voices to this season include: ZACH GALIFIANAKIS, ELISABETH MOSS and KRISTEN WIIG, who was a part of last night's season premiere.