We all agree that while the Simpsons is effectively TV Show royalty, like Prince Philip, it’s certainly well past it’s best now. So with FOX warning that the voice actors who made characters like Bart, Homer and Comic-book Guy famous will need to take a 45% pay cut if the show is to continue, we must ask if now is the right time to end the once great series.
“We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model,” read a statement issued by FOX this morning. “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.”
The Simpsons which is currently in its 23rd season, is one of the most successful shows in television history and makes FOX billions of dollars in DVD sales, syndication rights and merchandise, but for whatever reasons, the broadcaster has clearly decided to reduce production costs and is now testing the resolve of cast members who are currently trying to renegotiate their contracts.
Reports from The Daily Beast suggest the stars who provide the voices for Homer (Dan Castellaneta), Marge (Julie Kavner), Bart (Nancy Cartwright) and Lisa (Yeardley Smith) as well as a string of other characters in some cases, have been told that their existing contracts which stand at $8m (£5m) each per season are no longer viable and will not be renewed.
Reports suggest that the cast attempted to push through a contract which saw them claim some share of show profits in exchange for a 30% wage-cut, but it is thought that FOX will not reconsider their position. There are reportedly enough episodes to keep the show on the air until May 2012, but the issue needs to be resolved by December so that writers can pen a grand finale if bosses call tie on the show.
Some industry experts are suggesting that despite what their statement says, FOX will be happy to see the show end in the knowledge that the aforementioned profit streams will not dry up any time soon and it will still have a vast catalogue of episodes to repeat for years to come. Friends continues to generate millions for all concerned despite airing its final episode in 2004 and many think that FOX have been inspired by this example.
Others are suggesting that the show has carried on well beyond its natural life, thus becoming a shadow of the comedy that once collected awards on an annual basis and it should be wrapped up sooner rather than later.
What do you think? Has the Simpsons still got plenty in the tank or should it be ended while it still has its dignity?