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The Boob Tube

No Money And No Simpsons Make Us Something, Something

Go crazy? Don’t mind if I do! You remember that Simpsons Tree House of Horror skit that was based on The Shining? That’s kind of how I’m feeling right now. Because of arguments over money between Fox and the principle voice actors of The Simpsons, the show may soon end its 20+ year run.

The Daily Beast says, “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.”

A very interesting all-or-nothing game they’re playing isn’t it? Sort of makes you wonder if they still prize the show as much as they used to. “The ultimatum was delivered Monday evening as Fox spurned the actors’ proposal—delivered late last week—to take around a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a tiny percentage of the show’s huge back-end profits—amounting to untold billions—from syndication of the show around the globe and merchandising of Simpsons clothing, lunchboxes, stamps, DVDs, a feature film and video games, among other paraphernalia.”

Currently, stars Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and others) make around $8 million a year for 22 weeks of work. After the proposed cut, they’d each make around $4 million. Still nothing to shake a stick at but this isn’t a cool move in any industry, least of all when the individuals have worked for you for twenty years.

“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.”

Creators James L. Brooks and Matt Groening would continue to receive weighty profits through syndication and merchandise should the show end, the voice actors would not. The Simpsons certainly doesn’t pull the ratings it once did and I have to admit I don’t watch as much as I used to but this would be the end of an era. The show has been around almost my entire life, I half expected it to always be on. Perhaps we could all create our own version, the Shimpsons, that’s different enough that we wouldn’t get sued. Yes? No?

(via FlavorWire)

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  • Komiyan

    It stopped being incisive and clever quite a while ago. It’s pretty much already dead.

  • David Bandey

    I say kill the show in it’s current form and let it rest for awhile.
    It’s been past it’s best for a good 5 years now anyway.

  • Jessica Dwyer

    When I don’t laugh during an entire Treehouse of Terror episode that’s a sign.

  • Anonymous

    I will do a little dance if they finally put it out of its misery.  Season Nine was the last time it was good, and I used to LOVE that show with all my heart.  

  • Kevin Davila

    It’s still damn funny, just running about 5 years ahead of the curve. Been hearing the “pull the plug, it hasn’t been funny for 5 seasons” crap for about 15 seasons now. 

  • Terence Ng

    Plus, the voice over controversy is one that’s happened before with The Simpsons and more recently with Futurama on CC.

  • LemissaM

    I’m actually kind of relieved to hear this.  The Simpsons hasn’t been funny in a while, and I don’t want it to not be funny.  I’d rather it stop airing new episode and just air re-runs of “Summer of 4 Ft. 2″ for the rest of forever.

  • Anonymous

    Also my favorite episode.  ”Homer, I don’t know what you have planned for tonight but you can count me out.”

  • Andrea Rennick

    Voice actors are not entitled to revenue bearing a character license, only the voice. See the Dora the Explorer case. :)

  • Anonymous

    That is because it hasn’t been funny for 14 years. 

  • Thomas A.K.

    I’m going to assume whomever IS in charge of FOX right now, is not a fan of the show. That would be the only reason why anyone would just let this classic die.

  • Thomas A.K.


  • Wesley Smith

    I doubt it’ll happen this way, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it closed up shop sometime in the next year or so.

    Kind of like Saturday Night Live did in the early 90s, The Simpsons has gone from being considered subversive to being embraced by the mainstream to the point that it’s become the kind of institution they used to make fun of, and it we kind of feel like we have the right for it to be on. On the other hand, if the primary actors are getting even $8 million a piece per season, that’s a friggin’ joke. For Fox to be offering this deal to the team that has been with the network one way or the other LITERALLY since Fox started… yeah, I’d want to walk out too.

  • SuperZADL

    Non-Seq – I hate to be “that guy” but this isn’t the first time I’ve caught this error here at The Mary Sue: Third paragraph “A very interesting all-or-nothing game their playing isn’t it?” It should be “they’re” not “their.” 

    It’s OK if people screw that bit of basic English up in the comments, but not OK in an article. Looks very unprofessional and unedited. I’m sure it was a simple mistake, but like I said, I’ve seen that here before recently, and I’d hate for it to continue. 


  • Francesca M

    Its nothing I’m desperate to watch, but I still find it amusing when I decide to catch it on hulu.

  • Anonymous

  • Emily Hill

    I like the simpsons its been around since I could remember as old as me if you don’t include the year before its own show where it was shorts on the tracy olmand show but I stopped watching after the movie because in my opinion it jumped the shark with the movie and its starting to reuse old gags thus doing they’re own joke in which we saw on south park of “SIMPSONS DID IT”

  • Anonymous

  • Gareth Willmer

    If they do that then Sky will also suffer and so will Channel 4. A lot of Skys customers only watch sky one for the simpsons and because the show wont run anymore a lot of skys customers on the basic package and others will leave sky for this. I am one of them. i don’t think sky will be to happy with fox if they stop doing episodes over a stupid pay dispute. The actors get way more than any working person  in fact to much. The fact these voice actors get millions a year is enough a pay cut wont affect them at all they get enough as it is