While a Fox Television spokesman had no comment by late Monday, rumors are swirling that this may be the last season of The Simpsons. This because the studio is attempting to negotiate a 45 percent pay cut for the voice actors due to declining ratings.
The actors, who earn $8 million for 22 weeks of work, proposed a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a small percentage of the show’s syndication and merchadising profits, which amounts to billions. That proposal was rejected. Obviously. Much like Mr. Burns, Fox will never let go of that money even after it’s dying breath.
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. The series is produced by the 20th Century Fox studio and aired by the Fox network, both News Corp. companies, but the studio reaps the ancillary rewards.
“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.”
…“Now Fox is basically saying, ‘If you don’t take this deal, we’ll shut down the show,’ and they’ll continue to make a ton of money,” said the insider. “They’re free to sell it to cable and a second round of syndication, and they figure that the cast has very little leverage.”The Daily Beast
The Simpsons started in 1989 and has been on air for 22 years. Though I can see why ratings have dropped. The show sucks compared to the the first few seasons which were arguably the greatest. Homer started out as a character, who, though not the smartest, did at least have a few braincells. At some point, Matt Groening decided the show would be a lot funnier if Homer was dumbed way down. Now he’s a bumbling buffoon whose only purpose is comic relief. On top of that, the episodes in the earlier seasons were actually endearing. Homer gambling away their Christmas money, the water balloon war. Now it’s just cheap laughs wrapped in a plot no one cares about. So maybe they should take a 45 percent pay cut to $4 million a year since 45 percent is about how much less watchable the show has become.