Will ‘The Simpsons’ End Over Contract Dispute?
While ‘The Simpsons’ may still be popular after 23 seasons, a contract dispute threatens the future of television’s longest running prime time series.
According to the Daily Beast, 20th Century Fox Television, the production company of ’The Simpsons,’ offered an ultimatum to the cartoon’s six principal voice actors Monday night — accept a 45 percent pay cut or this season of the show will be its last.
Currently, Dan Castellaneta (Homer and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak and others), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns and others) each earn about $8 million annually for doing the show.
Because the producers control the syndication rights to the ‘The Simpsons” extensive library — worth billions of dollars regardless of whether there are any more new episodes — they are able to play hardball with the voice actors during negotiations.
Last week, the cast offered to to take around a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a small percentage of the show’s back-end profit, but were rejected.
In the past, there has been difficulty bargaining between the studio and the cast. However, according to insiders, this is the first time the threat of cancellation has entered into the picture.