If he were a real person, Bart Simpson would now be 33 years old, but he remains forever 10 on the animated Fox series “The Simpsons.” But it appears even a fictional character isn’t exempt from the budget axe.
As first reported by The Daily Beast, 20th Century Fox Television is demanding that the main voice actors take big pay cuts to keep the show on the air for season 24. Dan Castellaneta (who voices Homer Simpson), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart) are being asked to take 45% pay cuts, which would reduce the total payroll for the actors from $8 million per season to about $4 million. The studio rejected a counteroffer from the cast to take a 30% cut in exchange for a percentage of the show’s still lucrative merchandising profits.
“23 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,” the studio said in a brief statement Tuesday (10/4) acknowledging the dispute.
RBR-TVBR observation: This is not the first time that Fox has threatened to shut down the longest-running scripted show on television unless the cast agreed to financial cuts. It all comes down to a numbers game. Maybe Bart will be able to work it all out on that chalk board we see each week as the show opens.
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