The Simpsons could be cancelled if the voice actors don’t agree to a pay cut.
Fox executives reportedly want to give the cast a 45% decrease in pay, and six of the cast members refuse to accept it, offering to take a 30% pay cut in exchange for a small amount of the show’s back-end profits.
A source said: “Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows. 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.”
Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum and Apu), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and others) each earn about $8 million each year. Even with the pay cut they’d still make around $4 million per year.
The biggest sticking point is the back-end revenue from syndication and merchandise, which the cast thinks they are entitled to.
Executives say that if the cast doesn’t agree to the pay cut, they will cancel the series.
The source adds: “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. They’re free to sell it to cable and a second round of syndication, and they figure that the cast has very little leverage.”