The Simpsons started in 1989 and has done 23 seasons with more than 450 episodes and it looks like it may finally come to an end. Why you ask? Money. Everything seems to always develop into a money issue. The Simpsons show has made a lot of money over the years (estimated $3.9 billion) in merchandising and a movie as well as won over 50 awards, became the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated program, in 2009 longest-running American primetime scripted television series as well as the longest run on sentence, oh that’s just me.
There are six main voice actors; Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. Until 1998 they were making $30,000 per episode and after a pay dispute they were bumped up to $125,000 per episode. As the shows revenue rose they demanded more money and in 2004 they were being paid between $250,000 and $360,000 per episode! In 2008 they were reportedly bumped up to $440,000 per episode!
God damn, why can’t I find a job like that? Shit I’ll take $30,000 an episode!
Fox would like to do at least one more season but they are only willing to pay $250,000 per episode. This week Fox said it “cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model,” and hopes “an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come.” The producers and rest of the cast apparently has already agreed to pay cuts.
UPDATE: Simpsons has been saved and renewed for 2 seasons to get it up to 25 seasons. The voice actors have accepted an up to 70% pay cut to get part of the back-end money (DVD sales, merchandising, etc.)