The Simpsons is in danger of being cancelled unless an agreement can be reached over the pay of cast members.
In what sounds like a passable Simpsons storyline, executives at Fox have reportedly said the show will have to be closed down in the spring unless cast members are willing to take a 45% pay cut.
Dan Castellaneta probably owns the most famous Simpson voice, that of well-meaning buffoon and father Homer. Julia Kavner voices Marge, while Nancy Cartwright is tearaway son Bart. Each earns an estimated $8 million per year, yet now Fox is seeking to cut their fees. As one source from the show told the Daily Beast:
“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows. The show has made billions in profits over the years and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see down the road. The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third, but that’s not good enough for Fox.”
For its part, Fox feels continuing the show without decreasing production costs is impossible:
“We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come.”
It seems neither side is willing to budge, though other solutions may be available. In past disputes, executives at the network have threatened to hire sound-a-like actors.
The cast have also offered to take a 30% cut in exchange for a percentage of the show’s profits from global syndication and merchandising, an offer Fox has turned down.
Though its last decent gag was about ten years ago, The Simpsons has played a major role in modern American culture since its debut in 1989. Currently in its 23rd season, its disappearance from screens would mark the end of an era. While it probably won’t return to the unrivaled brilliance it displayed at its peak in the ’90s, it would leave a gaping hole for many viewers.
[Via Daily Beast]