After over twenty years on the air, The Simpsons is in danger of coming to an end. Due to salary disputes, Fox is contemplating canning the long-running series entirely.
20th Century Fox Television reportedly told the cast-- Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer—that they must take a 45 percent pay cut. I know these guys make a lot of money, but to put this high percentage in perspective, think about the current lifestyle you lead, and then cut it in half. Not looking so good, is it? Especially for me, who’s eating Del Taco as I write this.
The voice actors agreed to a 30 percent cut, but wanted to negotiate profit in other areas to make up for it—merchandising, syndication, etc. Fox wasn’t having that, either.
A source 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 cast earns $8 million for 22 weeks of work. That lifestyle thing I said earlier? Forget about that, this is a sh-t ton of money.
“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 source added. “The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third, but that’s not good enough for Fox.”
A representative for Fox Television admitted that the show cannot continue “under its current financial model” but added that negotiations haven’t been completely halted.
The spokesperson said: "23 seasons in, ’The Simpsons’ is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world. 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."
I think I speak for my generation when I say--this cannot happen. Granted, I haven’t watched the Simpsons since 2007, but still. It’s been on the air since 1989, and Matt Groening and James L. Brooks have created iconic, legendary characters. Hell, “D’oh” was even added to the dictionary recently. Take away The Simpsons, and the hearts of many will be broken.
I blame Family Guy.