'Simpsons' studio says show cannot continue without cutting costs

sad-Homer-Simpsons

Image Credit: Fox

Is Homer about to utter his final ‘D’oh!’?

The producers of The Simpsons and the voice actors are currently at an impasse in negotiations for a new deal that would allow for new episodes of the animated Fox comedy beyond the current season. 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces the series — which, in its 23rd season, is the longest running prime-time comedy in TV history — has asked the voice actors to take a 45-percent pay cut to renew their contracts for additional seasons, according to the Daily Beast. Fox isn’t commenting, but 20th Century Fox TV released the following statement today: 

“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.”

Contract negotiations between the show and the voice actors have turned tense on several occasions; in the late ’90s, the studio warned that it would replace the actors before a new deal was ultimately reached.

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Comments (143 total) Add your comment
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  • TR

    Put a fork in it.
    It gets lower ratings than Family Guy (?) and shows it’s age. Hardly “water cooler” or “Must see” TV any more.

    • tcc

      Yeah and the Family Guy has never been smart or funny, unless you like simple, brainless, lowest common denominator humor.

      • Mike

        It actually beat Family guy in it’s premier two weeks ago. If one or the other gets a better rating it’s usually by a very small margin.

      • J.R.Euwing

        No other cartoon has the wit and the glory of The Simpsons. Because of all of the haters they are considering shutting the show that millions, no scratch that, Billions of children everywhere have grown up watching. Homer Homer he’s our man if he can’t do it know one can! This is typical Fox brains.

      • ccard66

        You are right about the humor of Family Guy, but at least it makes me laugh. The Simpsons hasn’t done that in at least a year.

      • animated

        Family Guy has always been very funny. The Simpsons is better overall, and Family Guy or any of the other prime time animated shows wouldn’t be around if it weren’t for The Simpsons.

        But again, BOTH are consistently very funny (and much funnier than the other Sunday night animated shows). Only South Park comes close.

      • ricky rocky

        I am the only person I know that hates “Family Guy” never got it and never want to.

      • Mike

        Just because Family Guy beat the Simpsons in the ratings by decimal points it doesn’t mean it’s better crack sells a lot and so does Justine beiber doesn’t make them better or good….Family Guy is all hype…

    • Stan

      Fox says, “We are cheap d-bags. We would rather spend our hard(ly) earned money on trash, like American Idol, because our audience is growing dumber and we can make more money on shallow drivel.”

      • Lisa S

        You think a person or BUSINESS should invest in something that pays them LESS than something else?
        Are you insane?

      • bill

        the american government did by investing in green energy and having the company declare bankruptzy, and we are know that big corporations like ge never pay taxes anyway so fox should not worry about losing money

      • tommy ted

        The actors in the Simpsons are getting way too much money for voice over work. I’m an actor, and am all for actors getting paid, but $400,000 an episode for off-camera voice over work is a lot of money. Couldn’t they get by on $200,000 a week?

      • Zakry

        Don’t be silly. Just because you are a less successful “actor,” you feel like you can dictate what those talented voice-actors earn?

    • Todd

      But Family Guy is worse now than The Simpsons have ever been.

      I’d rather have The Simpsons still on than have to endure another Seth MacFarlane show that will surely take its place once it leaves.

    • Gerry

      But Family Guy only beats it by a few thousand viewers, it’s leaps and bounds more profitable and successful than their other animated offerings.

      • tommy ted

        No, The Simpsons it is not more profitable. That is why they want the actors to take a pay cut. To make it profitable.

      • Jimmy the May

        tommy ted….the simpsons makes TONS of money when you factor in merchandising

      • Zakry

        But, apparently, not enough!

      • hmmm

        i doubt it makes all that much in merchandising these days. But i wonder what it pulls in for syndication.

    • Dum Dum Didday

      The Simpsons has been garbage for at least the past 14 years – they have been rehashing stories, having more and more guest stunt characters, it hangs around only for nostalgia

    • Adam

      ratings don’t matter, never have. it’s an ever failing system that gives executives something to hide behind when the axe a show.

      the simpsons has had good years and bad years. they reuse a lot of the same jokes or plots, but that’s television. every show from giligans island to saved by the bell to i love lucy uses the same gimmicks and plots and set ups. its fun, who cares. if you like it cool, if you don’t whatever, but you cant hide behind ratings and say that a show is crap based on some numbers from middle america. two and a half men and leno have celebrated tip top ratings season after season, doesn’t make them tolerable to watch.

    • ricky rocky

      This 45% nonsense is just the opening salvo in a long drawn out negotiation. They start with a ridiculous number and pray for any decrease they can get. It’s been the same since the beginning of time….

    • Joe

      Family Guy was great BEFORE it was originally cancelled. After it came back, it was horrible. I haven’t watched it since.

      As for the Simpsons, it’s been 23 years. Surely Fox can find new actors capable of uttering a “D’oh!” every so often. Either that or put it right next to Futurama on Comedy Central.

      • MarcHon

        If you haven’t watched it since it came back, how do you know it’s horrible?

        And for the record, I hate it too, but my wife loves it.

      • The Truth

        I still watch Family Guy from time to time and I agree with Joe. The pre-cancellation episodes are in another league compared to the second run. The pre-cancellation episodes were can not miss water cooler shows. The 2.0 shows are now more like does the episode discreption look interesting for me to tune in.

    • Sceeter

      As soon as Family Guy has been on for 23 seasons, then we’ll talk about which is better. Hell American Dad is funnier, far funnier, than Family Guy!

  • Otis

    Cripes, give it a rest. The Simpsons should gracefully bowed out after about 5 seasons. The way they’ve continued to grind these things out cheapens whatever legacy it may have had more and more every year. I never even bother watching the thing anymore.

    • Al

      The last five years have been better than the shows in the early 2000s. Of course, they don’t live up to the early years, but this isn’t the worst period of the show.

      • Super Bass

        Bitch please the OC was the best show of the early 2000’s and so was GG for a time. Now it is the vampire diaries. this is coming from a gal who loved the simpsons

      • Missy

        Agreed. The show took a low-quality turn (if that’s a term!) around 1999 or 2000 and stayed there for a few years; it started picking up some steam again around 2005 or so. Mind you, even at its worst 5-6 years, it was still a lot better than most of the drivel on TV, definitely still watchable.

    • patrick

      to be totally honest, i think its best years were 6-9. to bow out after 5 we would have missed its best times.

      • Matt

        Thank you! I thought I was the only one in that camp. David Mirkin’s run was my favorite.

      • Lisa S

        Matt,
        Why on earth would you think you’re the ONLY one in that camp? Are you insane? You really think EVERYBODY else thought they should shut the Simpsons down after just FIVE seasons?
        The show is crap now, but it’s season TWENTY THREE.
        I’d say at least FIFTEEN seasons of the 23 were quality.
        You sound like a clown.

      • The Truth

        Um Lisa S, your last comment in your post applies more to your own post. Breathe in,,,, breathe out,,,,, breathe in……

    • Dave

      You think it should have been done after 5 seasons? Then I guess we would have missed out on some of the most brilliant comedy of the 90s.

    • Evil Melvin!!

      Otis, just like your name…you are stupid!!

    • Sceeter

      Cripes Otis. You’re a retard!

  • Bobby’s Robot

    I have never missed an episode, and though it has had its highs and lows, I still look forward to watching every week. I realize it has to end sometime, but would like to see them reach their 25th season.

    • Bobby’s Robot

      …and it really bugs me when people say “Oh it sucks now, I haven’t watched it in years!” Then how the f*ck do you know?? Even though it’s long passed its glory years, it’s still one of the best comedies on TV.

      • This Guy

        Right? And they still manage to find the articles on it and comment.

      • Otis

        How do I know? I’ve tuned in occasionally in recent years enough to see that they grind eps out now like Walmart shoes. It’s a perfect illustration of blind greed in action (it gets enough ratings from a programmed public to keep grinding on). I don’t watch much TV btw, and watch no other cartoon shows, never have except for the Flintstones.

      • Monty

        Yes Otis, “blind greed” is what is keeping all of the animators and writers employed. Do you have any idea how many people work on TV shows that are NOT making $100,000 a year?

        Imagine you work your way up in your business, and then you have to start at the bottom again because your job gets cancelled. Now imagine if you had to do that every year, every pilot season. If a show can latch on and go for several years, they are supplying people with steady employment. The voice actors are making a small fortune for a few hours a week in work, but most of the crew is comprised of normal working joes.

      • Brian Wallace

        I agree with Otis. I watched the Teddy Roosevelt episode and it was PAINFUL. If an athlete has a couple of good, maybe great, seasons and 20 really awful, mediocre ones, it doesn’t make it great.
        You could do an entire season of episodes where Bart “Takes over the school” ! It’s too late for a dignified exit. Most of America has forgotten about The Simpsons since, for the most part, it’s not funny. Let it slip away in the night.

        Brian

      • Mike

        But TV shows run on supply and demand not subjective points on quality. I think Two and a Half Men is awful but it’s ratings are great so it would be dumb to take it off.

        Whatever you may think of the Simpsons, it’s ratings are steady (as good as Famiy Guy), it’s an established fanchise, and it brings millions of dollars to FOX. It’s just a matter of negotiating, not if it’s good or bad.

      • Lisa S

        Monty is a whiny little ignorant tw@t. If she is any older than 13, I’d be astounded.

    • Ian

      Agreed.

      Yes, it’s “classic” days are long gone. But it’s still amusing. Heck, it’s far better than Family Guy these days or the unwatchable Cleveland Show. It’s far better than any sitcom on CBS or over half the things on network TV to be honest.

  • max23

    Actually, The Simpsons very frequently beats Family Guy or pulls about even on the number of viewers. The Simpsons Premiere beat Family Guy’s premiere a week ago.

    For the record – the number of people watching FOX has decreased since the 90’s when the show was still young. There are many more alternatives to the big 4 (ABC,NBC,CBS,FOX) than there were before.

  • Randy Jackson

    It should’ve ended at Season 9.

    • saline

      dog

  • nick

    they make tons money on blu rays and other stuff. end show and make a movie every two years instead of eh epsiodes a year and one great movie every 20 years. make movies end the show.

  • Rachel

    Awwwww I realy love the simpsons, I dont wannah stop seeing it :( I <3 THE SIMPSONS!!!!

  • amy

    Used to love The Simpsons yrs. ago! Can’t remember last time I watched it.

  • fbdbpw

    There’s no way they can canel the simpsons and if they do they better finish with a second movie

  • Chris

    Didn’t the entire cast go on strike like a year or so ago wanting more money? Fox asking for a 45% paycut is pretty much saying the show is done.

  • verypen

    NOOO! They can NOT cancel the Simpsons!!! 45% seems like a BIG pay cut…. Perhaps just a bit less? We can’t let this tradition die out! I want my grandchildren to see this show! (I’m 14)

    • Brian Wallace

      You know what? Get a good computer animation program, practice a little and come up with your own cartoons for your grandkids. You’re probably very creative and they’d love what you came up with. Plus, no matter how “bad” they are, they can’t be worse than the Simpsons have been for the last 15 years.

      Brian

      • Brian Wallace

        My name is Brian. That’s Brian.
        Brian

  • django

    How dare fox tell them to cut there budget. Simpsons is the biggest money making franchise they have. It also is by far the most beloved animated series ever. Fox is just greedy.

  • Abe Froman

    At this point, the show has had many more terrible seasons than good ones. Let it go.

  • iHeart

    If it is going to end, hopefully they make a real series finale. what if this results in no second simpsons movie?

    • Steve

      They should plan for an end. Go for 25 seasons in total followed by at least one more movie and provision for more after that. Do something where actors get a cut of movie profits to make up for 45% cut now.

      • heart

        But what if the cuts cause the second movie to be scrapped?

  • Mike

    I hope they work something out. The Futurama gang had the same problem when it moved to Comedy Central.

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