Will a contract dispute end "The Simpsons" after 23 seasons?
(CBS) Could we be saying goodbye to "The Simpsons" this spring? The Daily Beast is reporting that 20th Century Fox and the voice talent are butting heads over a new contract.
"Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they'll pull the plug on new shows," a source close to "The Simpsons" told the Daily Beast. The show is currently in its 23rd season.
"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," the source told the Daily Beast.
According to the insider, FOX is asking that the staff take a 45 percent cut in salary. Judging from the fact that the main cast makes about $400,000 an episode, this means they'll have to take home a little over $200,000. Still, it's not too shabby considering there's over 20 episodes in a season.
The voice talent -- which includes Dan Castallaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, and Hank Azaria -- reportedly countered with a 30 percent cut and a small percentage of backend profits from syndication and merchandise, but that was shot down, according to the Daily Beast.
Without directly pointing fingers, FOX commented on the matter through a statement. "Twenty-three 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."
To further confirm the rumor, Shearer tweeted "Don't tell me, tell Fox," when a fan asked him on Twitter if the rumors were true.
In 1998, FOX almost replaced the staff with a similar-sounding new cast over contract disputes. A similar thing almost happened when news came out that the "Futurama" cast was going to be cut for cost (which thankfully didn't happen). Viewers did not take kindly to this news. Luckily, they worked it out back then.
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