'Simpsons' Actor Harry Shearer Says He's Willing to Cut His Salary by 70 Percent
The performer who voices Mr. Burns, among other characters, says he's willing to go lower than the studio's proposed cut, so long as he gets a share of the show's profits.
Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer has taken a step on his own in the ongoing tense negotiations between the animated series cast and Fox executives who say that unless the voice actors take massive pay cuts, the show will not be renewed for a 24th season.
In a statement released Friday, the actor said, "I say, fine -- if pay cuts are what it will take to keep the show on the air, then cut my pay. In fact, to make it as easy as possible for Fox to keep new episodes of The Simpsons coming, I'm willing to let them cut my salary not just 45 percent but more than 70 percent -- down to half of what they said they would be willing to pay us. All I would ask in return is that I be allowed a small share of the eventual profits."
On Tuesday, THR reported that RBC Capital Markets analyst David Bank estimated that Fox could stand to get around $750 million from an off-network syndication rights sale if the show is canceled.
Shearer says he speaks for himself and not for his fellow cast members and also says that when his representatives approached Fox execs with his proposal, they were rebuffed.
"There were, the Fox people said, simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show's success," Shearer explained.
Shearer and the other members of the cast, including Dan Castellaneta, who voices Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Hank Azaria (Moe), have been receiving $400,000 per episode since a salary re-negotiation in 2008.
Fox says the series cannot continue under the current financial model.