The Simpsons survive

Pay deal secures two more series

The cast of The Simpsons have agreed to pay cuts to keep the show on air for another two years.

Fox have officially announced the show will continue for its 24th and 25th seasons, following the end of the current run of episodes.

Producer James L. Brooks tweeted: ‘Am crying animated tears of joy (which actually taste pretty good).’

The pay cut of the leading six actors – Dan Castellaneta, who plays Homer, Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa) plus Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer, who play most of the supporting roles – is not thought to have been quite as severe as the 45 per cent the studio demanded earlier this week.

The actors had offered to take a 30 per cent pay cut in their $8 million-a-year salaries in return for a small slice of the billions the show earns from oversea sales, syndication and merchandising.

Shearer, whose characters include Montgomery Burns, Smithers and Ned Flanders, had even made a public statement offering to take a 70 per cent pay cut in exchange for a share of the back-end profits, but said that Fox had refused point-blank to negotiate on anything but a fixed fee.

He said: ‘The Fox people said [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.’

Fox has said it could not continue to keep making new Simpsons under the current contracts – and threatened to pull the plug on the show entirely if the actors did not accept its terms.

A market analyst market analyst also said the News Corp company could receive a $750 million windfall if The Simpsons was axed.

Such a move would free the producers to renegotiate US syndication deals which have been in place for 17 years. Those contracts were struck when cable TV was a relatively small player – and internet broadcasting only a dream – so Fox could expect much more favourable terms under a new round of negotiations.

Published: 8 Oct 2011

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