The Simpsons is one of television’s most iconic and recognizable cartoon families. The hit television show is currently in the middle of its 23rd season with 488 unique episodes airing up to this point. It currently holds the record for longest-running American sitcom, animated series, and scripted prime-time series. The Simpsons has certainly grown long in the tooth, but could this icon cartoon family actually be bidding its final farewells at the end of its current season?
According to major news sources, negotiations between the show’s talent and Fox have been rough. In order to continue the show, Twentieth Century Fox has stated that costs must be cut. At the moment, the salaries of six of the series’ primary voice actors are in the crosshairs.
Currently, voice actors for The Simpsons make around US$8 million per season. This is an incredible number considering that they are voice talent rather than on-screen actors. Typically, voice talent actors receive quite a bit less for their work. At the moment, it looks like the actors’ pay will need to be hit by 45 percent in order to keep the show alive.
One member of the team, Harry Shearer, has offered to increase his reduced intake from the 45 percent proposed to 70, in exchange for a small cut in the profits made off the show’s syndication. Unfortunately, this deal was rejected by producers, setting the stage for what could potentially be a show-ending standoff between the show’s long-standing cast and Fox.
Harry Shearer plays quite a few Simpsons characters, including: Ned Flanders, Smithers, Mr. Burns, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, Principal Skinner, Otto, Rainier Wolfcastle, and many other lesser-known characters.
So, what would a series-ending impasse mean to Simpsons fans? For starters, new episodes of the show could be halted indefinitely, and the series itself would be canceled. Don’t worry though, there are billions of dollars to be made in syndication, and Fox doesn’t have any intention of walking away from that sizable chunk of profit.
This could very well be the final season of the Simpsons — a show that I grew up with, and undoubtedly many members of my generation (and their children) have as well. No matter what happens, the show’s creators have created an entertainment legacy that will continue on for generations to come.