Money Dispute May End ‘Simpsons’

I really had no idea this was still even on. I think it’s time to let it go guys. It started going downhill somewhere around season 9 and has been in free fall since then:

It looks like The Simpsons—20th Century Fox Television’s multibillion-dollar cash cow, the anchor of the Fox network’s Sunday primetime schedule, and the longest-running sitcom in the history of broadcasting—might stop production after the current 23rd season ends next spring.

The reason is a negotiating impasse between the studio and the six principal actors who voice the beloved characters on the animated series that hilariously satirizes middle-class Midwestern angst.

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.

Comments

22 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Cornjob,

    I can’t even remember the last time I actually watched an original episode on the night it aired. Our local Fox station runs the same six episodes over and over and OVER again… so, where’s the fun in that? Last best episode? The one with Bobo the Bear… and the RAMONES!!!! Gabba Gabba Hey!

    Mr. Burns: “Have the Rolling Stones killed.”
    Mr. Smithers: “But sir, those aren’t …”
    Mr. Burns: “DO AS I SAY!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    • Rampage_Rick,

      Did you know that many of the Simpsons episodes in syndication are cut shorter to allow for more commercials? I only noticed when I began seeing new parts of old episodes on Teletoon (which runs the full episodes uncut and uncompressed)

      Good example:
      Homer – “I’m the magical Candy Man who lives in a gumdrop house on Lollipop Lane!”
      (syndication cut)
      Homer – “In case you couldn’t tell, I was being sarcastic”
      Marge – “Well duh”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. FlamingAtheist,

    Some of the last couple season have had pretty flat endings but there have been a few gems in there too. It’ll live in syndication for a long time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. The question is, is keeping the job worth a 45% pay cut to the voice actors? They are smart enough to know that if the cut is really necessary, the show is not going to last much longer anyway. They may as well leave now before taking the humiliation of such a public pay cut.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. McGee,

    The sad part is, there are now more mediocre-to-bad episodes than there are good ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Frankly,

      The really really sad part is that even their mediocre stuff is better than about 80% of the dreck on TV.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. John,

    Halfway through season 7. That’s when I realized the show had become horrible. I don’t remember exactly when I stopped watching, but looking at episode guides on wikipedia, season 7 is when it all fell apart. Half the episodes were great and half made me want to claw my eyes out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • You may be right about that. I rented season by season on Netflix once and I just remember getting to about Season eightish or nine before seeing a big decrease in quality.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Fred,

    I think people have been saying The Simpsons used to be better longer than it’s been on the air.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • demenace07,

      Yeah! Kinda like ” I liked Grunge ’til it got commercial an’ all”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

      • KingTaco,

        Just the other day I was joking about how I wish Justin Bieber would go grunge. If only so I could wear flannel in public again and not feel like a walking breathing anachronism.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. MacCrocodile,

    Sound-alike voices rarely sound alike. They tried to replace Maude Flanders, but she sounded so awful they had to kill the character off.

    Let’s try to remember the good times with The Simpsons. And then let’s try to get through the inevitable hoopla that will surround its demise: the retrospectives, the montages, the pointless fluff pieces on the news. It will be tough, but we can weather the storm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. 1984,

    Whatever will be will be…
    Notice how nobody quotes newer episodes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  9. Tyler,

    Bah! Haters gonna hate! I still think the Simpsons is excellent, and still one of the best sitcoms on TV right now. I can’t quote as much from new seasons in part because they’re not in syndication yet, nor are they on DVD.

    It may not be as good as it was at some arbitrary point (people have been saying that all along, Aye Carumba), To me, it’s worth noting that I started watching it when I was a child, and I’m an adult now – tastes change. (That said, Season 8 is golden!)

    Personally, I’ll be sad when it eventually comes to an end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Frankly,

      I’m not sure I buy it being as good as it ever was but its not as bad as many people seem to think it is.

      I have a 30 YO kid & two other kids in their 20′s and we have whole conversations that are made up of nothing but Simpson quotes – drives the wifey crazy :)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Rampage_Rick,

        It might not be all bad. Perhaps now Matt Groening can devote more attention to Futurama. It’s interesting to read about Groening trying to sell it to Fox, but they couldn’t wrap their heads around all the “sciency stuff.” Now that they’ve been picked up by Comedy Central through 2013 there’s hope for us all. I’m okay with the fact that I used to own “the complete set of Futurama” only to have to buy 4 movies. Then having another “complete set of Futurama” and again I have to buy more seasons.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. mIKES,

    Not sure if you saw or comprehended the motivation for the pay cuts. For the shareholders benefit. I bought the first season on DVD, that’s really weird when you contrast it to the more recent episodes animation style, almost like stick figures. But the deal breaker for is Alan. He is an acquaintance of mine who will paraphrase every conversation in Simpson dialog. Like, holy shit, get out and take a walk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. Mike K,

    Sounds to me like typical corporate greed. Whether people around the water cooler still like the show or not doesn’t matter – it’s still making tons of money for the studio (someone’s still watching it). Despite its higher overhead, if that show is hurting for revenues, how are all these other bombs on the air staying afloat? Obviously it’s just the names of the voice actors they need – I’ve heard plenty of comedians that can do the voices spot-on. 20th Fox could surely find replacements for the voices, but the purists wouldn’t accept it and say it sucks anyway.
    Like Miss Cellania said, the voice actors should cut their losses and get out with their heads held high.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Frankly,

    Fux is making billions on the Simpsons DVDs & reruns, this is just a dick move because ratings are down for the show. Rupert must be worried about his legal bills

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  13. WordyGrrl,

    This’ll be good news ever since Baghdad Betty told Desert Storm GIs their girlfriends back home were dating Bart Simpson.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Porker,

    No, this will not end the Simpsons.

    Fox did this exactly with the new season of Futurama. And the last Simpsons negotiation before this.

    They just publicly threaten the nuclear option to bring down writer demands. They do this serially in animated voice actor negotiations, I assume because they have less leverage since their faces are not on-screen. It’s unctuous and in bad faith.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0


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