“The Simpsons” Renewed For Two More Seasons
The Huffington Post reports:
“The Simpsons” will live on, after all.
On the verge of cancellation after producer 20th Century Fox TV demanded that the voice cast of the seminal animated series take a 45% pay cut, the producers and talent came to a last minute agreement on Friday that will extend the show for two more seasons. It was thought that the showwould last only one more season after this, its 23rd, even if an agreement was reached, but the groundbreaking series will reach a record-setting 25 years on television.
The cast had agreed to lower their salaries, but asked in exchange for a cut of the backend profits, including DVD, syndication and merchandise sales. Star Harry Shearer released a statement earlier on Friday, saying that he was willing to take up to an up to 70% cut in pay in exchange for the back end. Fox balked at the offer, though terms of the new agreement have not been released.
Here’s the official announcement from Fox:
- FOX has renewed THE SIMPSONS, the longest-running comedy in television history, for an incredible 24th and 25th season, bringing the series total to an astonishing 559 episodes. THE SIMPSONS airs Sundays (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
- In the words of Homer Simpson, “Woo Hoo! I outlasted Andy Rooney!”
- The longest-running scripted show in television history, THE SIMPSONS exploded into a cultural phenomenon in 1990 and has remained one of the most groundbreaking and innovative entertainment franchises, recognizable throughout the world. Matt Groening created the iconic family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. In February 2012, THE SIMPSONS will celebrate its historic 500th episode. The series has won 27 Emmy Awards, been the subject of a hit feature film, created “Krustyland” and a revolutionary virtual coaster – The Simpsons Ride – at Universal Studios, received a star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame, been honored with five U.S. postal stamps personally designed by Matt Groening, and named the “Best Show of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine.
“The Simpsons” Facing Cancellation Over Contract Issues With FOX
The Huffington Post reports:
UPDATE (2:22 PM EST): 20th Century Fox TV released a statement about the negotiations, sounding a bit dire.
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.
PREVIOUSLY: Despite Homer Simpson’s best efforts, it may not be a nuclear meltdown that brings about Springfield’s doom. Instead, its end may come thanks to the business of Hollywood that the show has lampooned for so long.
According to a new report from The Daily Beast, the show’s voice actors are locked in a bitter contract negotiation with 20th Century Fox, with the studio threatening to end production if the talent does not take a 45% pay cut. The actors are countering with an agreement that nets them a 30% reduction in salary but a small slice of the show’s back-end earnings, which include the billion dollar syndication and merchandising empire that the studio has built over the past two plus decades.
At the moment, the Daily Beast reports, the show’s voice actors — Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer — earn about $8 million a year, but do not get a cut of the show’s much bigger ancillary profits.
The stars re-upped their contracts in 2008, receiving significant raises; it was reported that they went from $360,000 to $500,000 an episode.
Most of the actors, who each play a number of characters, have other gigs; Azaria, who voices Apu and Chief Wiggums, leads the way with his own NBC sitcom, “Free Agents,” though the new show is already in danger of being cancelled thanks to low ratings. He also played a part in this fall’s hit film, “Contagion” and starred in this summer’s big hit, “The Smurfs.”
Castellaneta, the voice of Homer, has had a recurring role in ABC Family’s “Greek.” Nancy Cartwright, Bart Simpson’s voice, also did voices for “Rugrats” and the shows “The Replacements” and “Betsy’s Kindergarten Adventures.” Harry Shearer has also starred in Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries.