Simpson Family Cast Reported Salary Dispute
Although long-time Simpson fans are now rejoicing that the famous yellow cartoon family has been renewed for two more years, there was a lot of drama behind the scenes.
A contract dispute with the show's voice cast had threatened to end the series, but Fox announced on Friday it will air through seasons 24 and 25. The voice cast includes Harry Shearer, (Homer) Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, (Marge) Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Hank Azaria.
When news of the contract dispute hit the airwaves fans were concerned that the show would end for good. Show-maker Twentieth Century Fox Television said it couldn't continue without cutting costs and targeted the salaries of its voice actors.
It seems that negotiations over the future of the beloved show included the fact that actors were going to be required to accept pay cuts and producers wanted a bigger stake in the show.
Each voice actor makes a reported $8million a year for their work on ‘The Simpsons,’ and Fox said the show could not continue without pay cuts. Earlier on Friday, Mr Shearer (Homer) said producers demanded a 45 per cent reduction.
Although the terms of the cast's new deal were not announced The Hollywood Reporter said the actors accepted a 30 per cent pay cut in the $440,000 they'd received for each of 22 episodes per season. In return for agreeing to a pay cut the voice actors wanted ‘a tiny share’ of the billions of dollars in profits the show has earned through syndication and marketing.
Mr Shearer said he had told producers he would be willing to accept a 70 per cent pay cut in order to keep the show on the air. The voice of Homer conceded his salary was ‘ridiculous by any normal standard’.
A spokesman for Twentieth Century Fox Television, Chris Alexander, said on Friday he had no comment on Mr Shearer's statement. 'We've had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us,.'
The show's creators, Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, have profit participation, but the actors have been rebuffed in efforts to join them. Mr. Shearer said his representatives were told that there were ‘simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show's success.’
But given how much joy the show has given so many people over the years - and given how many billions of dollars in profits News Corp has earned and will earn from it - I find it hard to believe that this is Fox's final word on the subject.’
News Corp owns both the television studio and Fox network. Questions were raised on whether Fox and the studio wanted the series to continue.The Daily Beast, which first reported the salary impasse, noted the studio is locked into its current syndication deals while new episodes continue to be made. If the show were to be cancelled, the studio could potentially make much more lucrative deals for use of the reruns.