Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Contract deal sees Simpsons saved

The Simpsons will continue after a contract dispute was resolved

Fans of The Simpsons can breathe a "d'oh!" of relief: The animated series has been renewed for two more seasons.

A contract dispute with the show's voice cast had threatened to end the series, but Fox announced it will air through seasons 24 and 25.

Negotiations over the future of The Simpsons, which began its 23rd season last month, spilled out into the public domain.

Twentieth Century Fox Television, which makes the show, said it could not continue without cutting costs and targeted the salaries of voice actors Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria.

Each actor makes a reported 8 million US dollars (£5.1m) a year for their work on The Simpsons, and Fox said the show could not continue without pay cuts. Earlier, Shearer said producers demanded a 45% reduction.

The terms of the cast's new deal were not announced. The Hollywood Reporter, citing unidentified sources, said the actors accepted a 30% pay cut in the 440,000 dollars (£282,812) they had received for each of the 22 episodes per season.

Shearer said he had told producers he'd be willing to accept a 70% pay cut, but in return the actors wanted "a tiny share" of the billions of dollars in profits the show has earned through syndication and marketing. The show's creators, Matt Groening and James L Brooks, have profit participation but the actors have been rebuffed in efforts to join them.

Shearer said his representatives were told that there were "simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show's success".

Twentieth Century Fox Television spokesman Chris Alexander said he had no comment on Shearer's statement.

"We've had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us," said Shearer, who conceded that his salary was "ridiculous by any normal standard".

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