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“The Simpsons” On The Verge Of Cancellation

Jennifer Schultz |
October 4, 2011 | 2:48 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

"The Simpsons" near cancellation? (courtesy of 20th Century Fox)
"The Simpsons" near cancellation? (courtesy of 20th Century Fox)
It seems like “The Simpsons” could use some help from Mr. Burns.

According to a report from the Daily Beast, a contract dispute between the show’s voice actors and Fox has put the show in a tight place. Namely, on the verge of cancellation after 23 long seasons.

 “We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model," a representative for Fox said in a statement, “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.”

That’s right, the longest primetime, scripted television series may not be returning with new episodes because Fox is asking its voice actors to take pay cuts. Studio execs are apparently asking for their voice actors to take 45 percent pay cuts to keep the show producing new content.

That wouldn’t exactly put the actors in the red, though. Some of the actors reportedly earn over $8 million a year, which isn’t a bad deal considering they only record for approximately 22 weeks out of the year.

The actors reportedly offered to take a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a small portion of syndication and merchandising profits to settle the dispute, but Fox hasn’t budged.

What does this mean for viewers? Since the new season has just started, don’t expect to see any changes in the lineup this time around. “The Simpsons” has gone through difficult negotiations before and still come out intact, so everything may be fine in time to start production for the next round of episodes.

The syndication issue is going to be big, though. If Fox does decide to terminate production of new episodes for the show, actors won’t receive any of the profits earned through syndication and merchandising, so they’re likely to fight out that issue as a security measure.

Expect to hear a lot more about this in the future, but for now, just sit back and enjoy Homer's antics.  D’oh!

Reach writer Jennifer Schultz here, or follow her on Twitter here.

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