In a strange repeat of what happened a few years ago, Fox’s long-running series The Simpsons is in danger of coming to a halt because of a tense contract negotiation with its voice cast. According to The Daily Beast, studio executives are insisting the cast accept a 45 percent pay cut or face cancellation after this season.
The ultimatum was reportedly delivered on Monday (Oct. 3). The actors have countered the 45 percent cut with a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for some of the show’s back-end profits from syndication and merchandising.
Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azari and Harry Shearer reportedly each earn about $8 million per year. The studio’s proposed cut would lower their pay to about $4 million a year. The cast previously renegotiated their contracts in 2008 bringing their per episode salary to around $500,000 per episode.
In response to the report, Fox released the following statement:
“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.”
In the words of one brilliant industry analyst, “D’oh!”