For those waiting in clench-jawed anticipation for another season of The Simpsons, there’s good news. With the announcement that the voice cast is getting raises, plans for the show’s 20th season are all but cemented. No doubt the cast does a great job voicing so many characters (was anyone else flabbergasted at The Simpsons Movie credits?), but one has to wonder if the raise could end up being the financial liability nail in the coffin.
With a healthy, yet declining viewership and continuous claims from long-time fans and critics that the show has been going downhill for years, at what point will it no longer make sense in terms of dollars and cents, to produce the longest running animated show on television? Most self-proclaimed Simpsons fans I know will attest that the show isn’t what it used to be. I can’t help but agree. Still, how much of the criticism can be traced back to the “I liked their old stuff better” phenomenon, where nostalgia mixes in with the memories, rendering any new work pale in comparison. I caught a newer episode the other night, and while it didn’t floor me it was at least decent, which is more than I can say for most stuff on the tube. I’ll take a mediocre Simpsons over 90% of the shows currently on the air. The people signing the checks at $400,000 an actor per episode must agree.
From BBC News:
The cast of The Simpson have signed a four-year deal that guarantees a 20th season of the popular TV show, according to trade paper Variety.
Production was delayed for several months while the voice actors and 20th Century Fox TV discussed an agreement.
Variety said the salaries of the stars – including Dan Castellaneta (Homer) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart) – would rise to $400,000 (£200,000) an episode.
The Simpsons is the US’ longest-running prime-time entertainment series.
Because of the delay, 20 episodes of the new series will be made instead of the usual 22, Variety said.
It is not the first time production on The Simpsons has been delayed for salary negotiations.
In 2004, production was halted for a month after a pay dispute over contracts led the stars to stop work.
Each cast member was seeking about $360,000 per episode, Variety reported at the time. The actors were previously earning $125,000 (£70,000) a show.
In the past, the cast have argued that their wages are relatively low given the huge popularity and success of The Simpsons.
As part of the latest deal, Castellaneta has been named consulting producer on the series. He will serve as a writer in addition to his role as a voice performer.