Oh boy, it’s that lovely time every three years or so when the Simpsons cast re-negotiate their contracts with Fox! And this time the stakes HAVE NEVER BEEN HIGHER. The Daily Beast reports that this time the voice actors are asking for a pay cut, instead of their usual pay raise. Say whaa??? Have we wandered into Bizarro World??? No, while they’re asking for a 30 percent pay cut, it’s because they want a piece of that hot, hot syndication and merchandise action worth billions of dollars in CA$H MONEY. Fox doesn’t want to give up that money (after all, their parent company News Corp. has tons of phone hacking victims to pay off), and this time they’re threatening to CANCEL THE SIMPSONS.
Difficult bargaining is nothing new for the show, which was created by James L. Brooks and Matt Groening. Fox studio execs have occasionally threatened to replace uncooperative cast members with sound-alike actors. But for the first time in nearly a quarter century of haggling, the executives have insisted that if the cast doesn’t accept a draconian 45 percent pay cut, The Simpsons will die an abrupt death as a first-run series.
Could the end of The Simpsons finally be in sight? Could our long national nightmare finally be over??? Well, don’t get your hopes up, because Fox threatened to cancel the show during a previous pay dispute in 2004. Now they’re just doing it again, because they’re lazy and can’t think of any new negotiation tactics. Remember two years ago, when they threatened to replace the entire cast of Futurama, and the entire Internet went into a panic? Yeah, same thing, basically.
And yet… I have this sneaking suspicion that Fox might actually be sane enough to pull the plug this time, should the actors call their bluff. From their perspective, it’d a nice way of finally getting rid of this lumbering dinosaur of a show, while also dumping the blame on Greedy Voice Actors. But that probably won’t happen, and instead we’ll get two more atrocious seasons. Everybody loses!
Meanwhile, if this pay dispute is anything like the last pay dispute in 2008, a bunch of animators are going to be out of work as this situation drags on and production dries up. Them’s the breaks, I guess.
Sidenote: Apparently the writer of the article stated Springfield was in Ohio (???) and the editor corrected it after being shamed by the Simpsonology people on Twitter (there’s no acknowledgement of this in the article itself, though). First they completely botch a Nancy Pelosi interview, now this??? Does The Daily Beast/Newsweek employ any fact-checkers, at all?