5:35pm PT by Alex Ben Block
'The Simpsons' Renewed for Two More Seasons
The Simpsons are safe for two more seasons, which will bring them to a historic 25 years on network TV, longer than any other scripted series.
After tense negotiations with the voice acting cast for a renewal, Fox announced Friday afternoon that the longest running comedy in history will return for a 24th and 25th season.
Fox did not reveal the terms of the deals with the actors, but sources say they accepted a sharp cut in pay, of around 30% from the $440,000 for each of 22 episodes they had been making. That would be just over $300,000 per episode.
There was no specific mention in the Fox announcement about the actor but all of them are believed set to return. That would include Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe, Chief Wiggum and Apu), and Harry Shearer (the voice of Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders, among others).
The battle between Fox and its voice actors has been a regular event every few years since 1998 but this time around was particularly bitter and public. Fox took the unusual step of issuing a statement saying the show’s economic model no longer was viable, and that it had to reduce costs. There were reports the producers, writers and actors would all see their compensation reduced. There was even a leak to one blog that there would be only one more season of The Simpsons in any case, which obviously has turned out to be incorrect.
During the heated negotiations, the actors volunteered to lower their salaries but sought a share of back end profits from things like syndication and licensing. Shearer even said early Friday he would take a 70% salary cut in return for a share of the profits. The studio held firm and refused to pay them any profit sharing.
The actor’s do get extra pay when their voice is used as part of licensing but otherwise do not share in that revenue. Source say with this new deal they still will not have any cut of the back end profits.
Fox said in its announcement The Simpsons will return on Oct. 30 with new episodes, beginning with the "Treehouse of Horrors XXII.”
The Simpsons, which is distributed by Fox, is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean are the executive producers. Film Roman, a Starz Media Company, is the animation house.