The stars of “The Simpsons” have reportedly agreed to a salary cut that will allow the storied animated sitcom to continue, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Quoting an unnamed source, this story on THR.com says the actors who provide the voices for the “Simpsons’ ” principal, beloved characters have ended their holdout for so-called “back-end” revenue and have agreed to a salary cut.
The cut is not as deep as the 45 percent decrease that Fox TV’s 20th Television production company — producer of “The Simpsons” — had reportedly offered the voicers previously, the THR story said.
Few other details were available about the ongoing negotiations that pitted the six principal voiceover artists on the show — Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Nancy Cartwright — against Fox, which had reportedly warned that if the cast didn’t accept the 45 percent cut, the current season, its 23rd, would be the show’s last.
The voiceover stars are said to earn $400,000 per episode for their work on “The Simpsons,” and were being asked to accept $250,000 per episode (for 22 per season). As they have in previous contract negotiations, the voicers asked for small percent shares in the revenue the lucrative series generates on the so-called back-end — syndication rights, toys and all the rest — but the THR story says Fox held firm and didn’t concede any back-end percentage points.
The THR story didn’t say how long the series would now last, although stories circulating earlier this week posited a scenario in which the series would get one more season, its 24th, before calling it quits (though it would run for years in rerun syndication).
In addition, there was no official announcement of a deal from Fox — which likely means a deal is not quite completed. Earlier in the week, it was widely reported that the voicers faced a deadline of noon Friday (presumably West Coast time) by which to accept the proposed salary cut or accept the ending of the series. However, that deadline came and went with no word that a deal had been signed, sealed and delivered.