The future of the longest-running scripted series on television, Fox’s The Simpsons, is once again in doubt over voice cast renegotiations with 20th Century Fox TV, a torturous cycle they go through every couple of years. Like last time around, there’s an impasse over the size of the actors’ salaries.
“Twenty-three seasons in, The Simpsons is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world,” 20th TV said in a statement. “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.”
While still wildly profitable, The Simpsons has seen its primetime ratings on Fox erode over the last few years. But the franchise continues to be extremely important to News Corp., with the company’s COO Chase Carey recently suggesting that a Simpsons cable channel may be in the offing. As first reported by The Daily Beast, talks between the cast and 20th TV broke down after 20th TV turned down the cast’s proposal to take a 30% pay cut to about $4 million per season each in exchange for a piece of the back-end and issued an ultimatum yesterday for a 45% salary reduction.