Because business is business and studio execs only care about themselves, 20th Century Fox Television is seriously considering shutting down The Simpsons after the current season is over. The reason for this is the fact that the six main actors voicing the show’s characters are refusing to accept a 45% pay cut, as requested by the studio in order to cut production costs.
“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows,” said a Simpsons insider with knowledge of the negotiations. “The show has made billions in profits over the years and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see down the road. The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third, but that’s not good enough for Fox.”
Each of the six principal actors is currently earning $8 million annually and would continue to earn over $4 million even with the proposed pay cuts, but apparently that’s not enough to keep them working. It may sound like greed but it’s actually quite understandable, because the show has earned the studio billions of dollars.
What’s really unfortunate about this situation, though, is the fact that the studio stands to make more money if the show ends than if the show continues – at least in the short term. Fox is sitting on a goldmine of ~500 episodes, and if the show was to end they could begin a second round of syndication deals that would be worth billions. And this time around they wouldn’t have to spend any of it on production costs because all the work has already been done.
Now, I know the show’s quality sort of declined over the years, but it’s still entertaining and it would be a shame to lose it. Besides, what will Fox replace it with? And where will Seth MacFarlane steal more ideas from? We can only take so many Family Guy clones . . .
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