Fox Threatening to Cancel ‘The Simpsons’ Over Contract Negotiations

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 7th, 2011 at 7:18 pm,

Fox Threatening to Cancel The Simpsons Fox Threatening to Cancel ‘The Simpsons’ Over Contract Negotiations

UPDATE: ‘The Simpsons’ Renewed For Seasons 24 & 25

With 23 seasons and a major motion picture to its name, The Simpsons is probably the most successful and well-known animated American television show of all time – and yet, some would say it hasn’t been good since the late ’90s.

Which might have something to do with why Fox is considering canceling the animated American staple before season 24 can be green-lit. Well, that and Fox wants to downgrade the cast members’ paychecks from $8 million a piece to $4 million a piece, and the cast members might not go for it.

Says a Simpsons insider to The Daily Beast:

“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows. The show has made billions in profits over the years and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see down the road. The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third [if they’re given a percentage of the back-end profits], but that’s not good enough for Fox.”

This isn’t the first time that the cast of The Simpsons has done battle with the studio with regard to payment and contracts. However, previously, it seemed as though they had the weight at the negotiation table – especially when Fox threatened to replace them with soundalikes. Not so, this time.

All The Simpsons Characters Fox Threatening to Cancel ‘The Simpsons’ Over Contract Negotiations

According to The Daily Beast, Fox wants the actors’ pay to be cut by 45%, though it’s unclear whether or not they’re okay with the cast receiving a small percentage of the show’s profits, per their request – which would, in this writer’s opinion, be entirely fair.

The insider continues:

“Now Fox is basically saying, ‘If you don’t take this deal, we’ll shut down the show,’ and they’ll continue to make a ton of money. They’re free to sell it to cable and a second round of syndication, and they figure that the cast has very little leverage.”

As someone who believes the original incarnation of The Simpsons was classic, hilarious, and largely responsible for influencing both good and bad American TV/film/videogame comedy over the past fifteen years (Family Guy, Arrested Development, Hot FuzzAmerican Dad, 30 Rock, FuturamaCommunity, Modern Family, Tim Schafer videogames, and on, and on, and on), the possibility of cancellation is music to my ears.

Somewhere between season eight and season one million – as there are literally (sarcasm) one million seasons of The Simpsons currently – this classic TV show became a pale, paltry shell of its former glorious self. The show lost is cleverness, its subtlety, its vitality, its edge, its particular brand of humor, and it became a “How crazy can we get?” variety hour, a la Family Guy.

Indeed for myself and many others, The Simpsons has long been in need of being put out of its misery. Even the film released in 2007, while somewhat entertaining, was not as great as the “classic Simpsons” seasons of the show. “Randomness” ≠ “comedy,” regardless of what certain shows, movies, and SNL skits would have you believe – and regardless of how many times said random joke is made.

The Simpsons Movie Fox Threatening to Cancel ‘The Simpsons’ Over Contract Negotiations

Truthfully, The Simpsons has been declining in quality for over half of its lifespan; congratulations should go to Fox, Matt Groening, James L. Brooks and Co. for producing the longest-running American primetime cartoon, sitcom, and scripted show, but now it’s time to pack it in and just live off the residuals. Please! Double please!

I don’t even think it would be a bad idea to continue making Simpsons movies. At least then the creators could focus all their energy on making quality, as opposed to dividing comedic and creative energy (what little is left) between episodes and movies. My only request is that they replace the Arnold Schwarzenegger president character with Rainier Wolfcastle, the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Simpsons universe, as it should’ve been in the first place.

Alas, all these contract negotiations and threats of cancellation could very well just be another round of political games as a means to either lowball the actors or highball the studio, which would inevitably end in one side succumbing to the other and another few seasons of ho-hum Simpsons episodes. Hopefully – at least in my opinion – that’s not the case, and this overstayed welcome can finally end once and for all. Until then, I’ll have my Simpsons Seasons 2-8 DVDs to comfort me.

What do you guys think? Does the news that The Simpsons might be canceled sadden you or fill you with glee?


Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.

The Simpsons airs Sundays on Fox @8pm. For now.

Source: The Daily Beast

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  1. I personally think the new episodes are every bit as good as the classics. I started watching The Simpsons again last season and enjoyed every one. Yes there was a time a ferw years ago when it started to drift and feel tired, but it has regained its quality recently in my opinion. Does this writer actually watch the show? because your rant and reality are very different.

    • I agree ppl assume that it cant be good after all this time like most shows but those ppl including me most likely havent watched the new ones which i started to after watching one of them and feeling that it was the same old simpsons we really need to realise this before its too late

      • I completely disagree. The new Simpsons isn’t even funny. I watched the latest episode and it sucked. I went back and watched a few season 2 episodes and they were great.

  2. Actually they should only make the halloween ones, forget all the rest

  3. I think the issue with the Simpsons anymore is that it is not consistent. Definitely in the older seasons almost every episode was great. The recent seasons will have a terrible episode one week and then the next pull out a really good one. That makes the show unreliable and it’s not really a must watch for me anymore. I like the idea of taking the show off the air and focusing on a few more movies. They could potentially recapture some of the old spirit like I think they did with the recent feature.

  4. Just because you think it’s getting old is no reason to want to cancel it, lots of people still like it.

  5. The actors have made more money than I’ll ever see, the studio has made more money than I’ll ever see….so I don’t really care who is whining about millions being cut from their pay when they are still making millions.. boo-freakin’-hoo! Haven’t watched the Simpsons since the 9th season anyway..

  6. Good Grief. Stop the complaining about when the seasons stopped being “good,” you aren’t experts in comedy. The show still produces 2-3 good episodes per season and the others have their moments. Maybe they aren’t emmy winning performances but it’s still better than 99% of the cartoons being put out today. How many shows have come and gone during their 24 years? Since I’m not paying any of the costs for this show, they absolutely deserve 8 million apiece if only for the halloween special which has become as much a tradition as “It’s a Wonderful Life” around Christmas time or football on Thanksgiving. If the Simpsons are cancelled we aren’t going to get a new, better product.

    • “You aren’t experts in comedy.”

      Yeah, who am I to judge for myself what I like and don’t like?? I should let the “experts” decide for me!

    • 2-3 good episodes out of a 22 episode season?? What an impressive bench mark you’ve set!

      On another note, it’s annoyed me for years that The Simpsons airs its Halloween specials after Halloween. Does this bother anybody else? I remember when I was a kid, I’d watch it every on or before Halloween, and then for some unknown reason, they just started airing it late.

      Anyway, apparently it’s airing this year October 30th, so I may check it out. The specials are the only ones worth watching anymore, in my opinion, though more for entertainment value than comedy.

      • They air it afterwards because of the MLB playoffs. They’re on Fox.

  7. wattt!! simpsons better not get cancelled its my all time fav show and the cast has to cut down their pay from 8mil-4mil thats still alot of frikin moneyh.

    • Exactly!

  8. I’ll admit, I don’t tune in as much as I used to, but I’d still be a bit depressed if they did decide to end it. It may not be as funny as it once was, but i’lll take it over all the new garbage of today. Especially that reality based crap…

  9. Time to fold? Maybe. Fox is making billions of this show, it’s kinda dumb to kill it. The Cleveland show could go, none of my friends or family like that show, it’s boring. Take that money and pay the Simpsons actors, make one last decent season and call it an end. I have watched The Simpsons from day one and the quality took a swan-dive around season 8. I never watched a full year after Season 9, just every other show. I will miss it if it goes.

    • But the point is, they’ll make billions either way. It’s a cash machine regardless of whether or not the show is making new episodes. The new episodes are eating money.

  10. Is that show still on?

    I haven’t watched the show in ten years. I truly think the premise is played out. The movies are a good idea for those still clamouring for these characters. I work in a business where I have a lot of disparate technicians around me and we used to say that it wasn’t a day without someone making a Simpsons reference…That time is past.

    The voice actors have a responsibility to their fellow actors NOT to take a pay cut. It would be a horrible precedent for a cast of one of the longest running tv shows in history to take a pay cut after being a success for so long.

    Cancel the show.

  11. this is old news, a deal has been done and the show has been signed for another two seasons. i prefer the newer episodes, there better quality, but the older episodes tell a better story.

    • Yes, this is old news. That’s because it was published before the deal was signed.

  12. occassionly having a good ep or two a season aint good enough
    nor has it been good for about a decade
    the time to end on a high is long past
    this show has gone as low as it gets

  13. I really dont get how ppl think its not good anymore :S I still watch it almost every day and I think the latest episodes is as good as the old ones..
    It could keep going for ever

  14. The Simpsons is one of my favorite shows. I have seasons 1-13 and I’m continuing to collect them all until the show ends. I know the show cannot possibly go on forever, but the idea of The Simpsons leaving for good kind of makes me sad. That was my childhood and I’d still prefer Homer and the gang over the garbage they have on now. If anything… maybe The Simpsons should go on until season 25. That way, they can reach something like a “silver anniversary.” As for the pay cut, well hey, I think the cast deserves to get paid $8 million. Yeah that’s a lot, but compared to other celebrities who make triple the amount of that and aren’t even that GOOD (i.e. Snooki and Kim Kardashian), the Emmy-award winning cast deserves to make that much after donating 25 years of quality TV. And yes, I meant EVERY season. What can I say? I’m a devout Simpsons fan! :)

  15. im really upset that the idea of the simpsons might be cancled because of fox studios. eez get a grip. the simpsons are my life i have grown up with them they were there when i was upset and yet they no how to make a bad thing good.

    ever since i started school every body said wow what a good episode that was did you see the part where bart photo copied his bum on paper. yt i do agree that the film was not as good as the tv show. but if they carry on making episodes it make’s people happy and it stops people doing stupid things (some times) makes people calmalso so i do hope they don’t cancle it

  16. I just saw a episode of the Simpsons mocking the crucifixion of Christ on the cross with the two prisoners that were crucified with him but if Americans make fun of Muslims, we have Extremist killing and sadomizing our embassodor and attaching our embassies around the world! So you can make fun of Christian faith and get away with and you’re okay with that! That to me is disgraceful and SICK!! This SHOW should definitely be CANCELLED for,that reason alone!!

  17. I want the Simpsons cancelled they use there show to promote there liberal agenda and to sway voters to Obama the worst president ever I guess to these people American life dose not mean anything

  18. Not fair!!!! Siinpsons was the TV show we watched at supper. Now we have like nothing. Put simpsons back on!!!!!!! Pleaee I’m only 12

  19. Please do not cancel The Simpsons! It has been the longest running and the best!

  20. If the simpsons are cancelled, a great deal of fans will simply stop watching fox all together, not because other s*** they broadcast in fox is bad, but because viewers will simply be mad about it and will stop watching fox channel. If the simpsons are cancelled, I will simply stop watching fox and any of their shows and will drive everyone i know to stop watching fox as well and any of their shows. I am sure there are tons of fans out there that will do the same, not just one person can have my same idea.

    • I agree will not watch fox if they don’t bring back the simpsons , they are classics and you cant just get rid of them because you want to reduce cost on the producers and cast who thanks to them now their able to live on very godly residuals, after they made fox so much money and now all they want to do is live off of the money they made from our ratings give the public what they want! and stop being money hungry! that’s how they made their billions in the first place , I think fox just uses people for their ratings and as soon as they make to they’re hungers galore in money they give us the backdoor , when its thanks to us the 90s kids and fans who gave them over the top ratings and money, thanks to the show. I think if anything they should be thankful and out of respect give the simpsons cast writers producers who gave it its success what they should be paid for .they owned their pay over the years and I think we can all testify to that.

  21. This blog was… how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped
    me. Thanks a lot!

  22. With many little quirks that separate the violence filled dramas in the fun loving but intelligent dramatic comedy.
    The show generally is all about Homer Simpson and his family.
    So exactly what forms of situations are there to determine and do when your
    Orlando vacation takes you to Universal Studios.

  23. The Simpsons have been on the air since I was 12. I’m now 36!!!

  24. This really sucks I love the simpsons it classic I hope they come back