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article image'The Simpsons' could face doom if actors don't accept pay cut

By Abigail Prendergast     Oct 5, 2011 in Entertainment
Matt Groening's hit television series "The Simpsons" could meet its end next spring. The reason for this is an impasse between the studio and six main voice actors regarding a pay cut of almost half their original salary.
The animated FOX Network sitcom, The Simpsons, is facing the threat of being axed after the end of its 23rd season come next spring. While the series, known for its trademark yellow-skinned characters, isn't anything like it was back in its heyday, that isn't the reason why it could potentially meet its end.
According to The Daily Beast, the element threatening the show is an apparent stalemate between the studio and the six main voice actors who bring Homer and his dysfunctional family (among several other characters) to life.
The actors, Dan Castellaneta (best-known as Homer), Julie Kavner (best-known as Marge), Nancy Cartwright (best-known as Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum, etc.) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, etc.) each reel in somewhere around a good 8 million dollars a year for 22 weeks of work says the TIME News Feed.
They would be making a drastic 45 percent less if the studio executives got an agreement to their response to a 30 percent pay cut in in exchange for a fraction of the program's latter end of profits (I.E. worldwide syndication and merchandising).
The final notice of the pay cut was forked over Monday evening after Fox turned down the actors' aforementioned offer, which came about late last week.
“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows,” an insider with knowledge of the negotiations told The Daily Beast. “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.”
Even after such a pay cut, however, the six voice actors would still be making around $4 million each. But for quite some time now, they have believed that they rightfully deserve that chunk of the syndication and merchandising profits because they have given as much creative contribution to the series as creators James L. Brooks and Matt Groening.
The Simpsons might not be getting the ratings it did in years past, but it still remains a Sunday night staple on Fox as a strong lead-in for Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy and American Dad.
Whether the residents of the stateless Springfield stay afloat with new episodes or the series is doomed, one thing is clear: between a whopping 23 seasons, unforgettable characters and a look the world has never seen before, The Simpsons will always and forever be etched in the 21st Century psyche.
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