Currently in its 23rd season, “The Simpsons” will come to an end next spring if the six principal voice actors don’t get a new deal. Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum and Apu), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders) have offered to take a 30% pay cut (presently $8M a year each) in exchange for a tiny percentage of the show’s back-end profits. Fox’s response? “F*ck you.” The Daily Beast says:
Difficult bargaining is nothing new for the show… Fox studio execs have occasionally threatened to replace uncooperative cast members with sound-alike actors. But for the first time in nearly a quarter century of haggling, the executives have insisted that if the cast doesn’t accept a draconian 45 percent pay cut, The Simpsons will die an abrupt death as a first-run series…
“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows,” said a Simpsons insider with knowledge of the negotiations. “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.”
Seeing as how everyone in this discussion is untold millions of dollars wealthier than I’ll ever be, it’s hard to take a strong stance for either side. I think the actors deserve some back-end money for 23 years of work, but I’m also ready for the show to be over, so I’ll just have to issue a very strongly worded “meh” to both parties.