‘The Simpsons’ Producers Take Pay Cut To Prevent Cancelation

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 10th, 2012 at 12:33 pm,

the simpsons homer The Simpsons Producers Take Pay Cut To Prevent Cancelation

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

In an attempt to stave off Fox’s threat to cancel The Simpsons after 23 years, several of the series’ top-level producers have agreed to reduce their salary. But is it enough to keep the long-running animated program on the air?

An ultimatum from 20th Century Fox TV was made on Monday: unless the voice actors agreed to a 45% pay cut, The Simpsons will be canceled. Fox cited the fact that The Simpsons is no longer a sustainable series in its current form for taking such a hardline approach in its negotiations.

The voice actors, who are unfortunately used to difficult negations with the studio, quickly declined the substantial pay cut and countered with an proposal that they felt was reasonable: a 30% reduction in their salary, plus a piece of the back end profits from the series. The studio rejected this offer.

Despite both sides currently unable to agree to an appropriate resolution, everyone involved believes that a deal will be made and The Simpsons will be saved. Although, this conundrum does have one questioning why the Fox TV is against providing back end profits to the voice actors that helped the series become the hit that it is.

In the world of television, it’s not uncommon for the stars of long-running programs to receive back end profits – especially when the production budget doesn’t allow for an appropriate pay raise upfront. In the most common form, this is what happens when an actor receives an executive producer credit.

the simpsons home 2 The Simpsons Producers Take Pay Cut To Prevent Cancelation

Instead of having to pay substantially more money upfront to the actor in the form of a direct raise, a small pay increase to their weekly salary is combined with a producer’s share of the profits from syndication, DVD sales, merchandising, etc… Producers receive a much larger portion of these profits than the actors do from union-mandated earnings.

So, in a sense, studios are more willing to share a portion of the earned profits than to increase their monetary commitment upfront. And, for The Simpsons, they have more than enough earned profits to go around.

Since its start in 1989, the profits for The Simpsons have surpassed a billion dollars. Co-creator Sam Simon has previously revealed that, even though he stopped working on the series after season 2 (and hasn’t watched the show since), the amount of money he receives from having a piece of the back end of The Simpsons is so substantial that he had to hire a separate accountant to specifically keep track of the money owed to him from Fox.

And, for a series that’s been on the air for 23 years, there may be a lot of people sharing in on the profits – so why not the actors? If Ray Romano was able to give his cast members a portion of the back end of Everybody Loves Raymond, why can’t Fox do the same for the actors of The Simpsons?


The Simpsons airs Sunday @8pm on Fox

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: Entertainment Weekly





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  1. I cant remember the last time I watched the Simpsons.

  2. i think 45% is fair if it prolongs the show then it seems to be the viale option i cannot understand why the actors feel the need to detroy all the hard work they have done there is of coarse the most unthinkable option and that would be the replacement of the principal cast

    • I believe the issue is that after The Simpsons is over, the series will continue to go on and ear 2.6 billion dollars in profit… and the actors will get almost none of it.

  3. (Viable)apologies for the rubbish keyboard

  4. I am shocked to see this sort of behavior out of Fox! Where is cuddly studio we all knew and loved, that supported shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80′s Show, Wonder Falls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, Freakylinks, Wanda At Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Louie, and Greg the Bunny?

    • I know, right??? C’mon Fox… Well put Derek K.
      Is it possible that this could lead to the studio having to come up with back pay to the actors for the back-end profits? I don’t know…but also I haven’t watched the Simpsons in probably 10 years…

    • I googled all of those shows and Fox cancelled them all.
      So I don’t see why your surprised.

      • Priceless!

    • Those are all the shows Peter mentioned in the “North by North Quahog” episode of Family Guy! (BTW, it’s “Luis”, not “Louie”, he was a Hispanic.)

      • In fact, further research show this is rising star Luis Guzman (Nothing Like the Holidays, Yes Man, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Arthur, etc.)

  5. fox to me always comes off as money obsessed, its truly insulting to not offer the cast back end profits for reruns etc.. those actors are famous and helped revolutionize cartoon television. i hate hollywood more every day.

  6. The Simpsons has long outlived being funny, I think it’s right for it to be cancelled, it’s gone stale a long time ago. Even great things must come to an end.

  7. The author clearly does not understand Fox’s stance. A hardline stance saying 45% of the actors’ pay must be cut means at least that amount of cost must be eliminated. The actors agreeing to take only a 30% cut but requiring back-end profits means not only will Fox not be able to cut as much as it would like, but it will have to pay out more of its profits. In other words, Fox would have to back off of its stance.

    Now, if the actors were willing to take a 50% pay cut, but wanted back-end profits and Fox was still unwilling, the author’s point would make sense.

  8. put theb simpsons back on tv riet naw dum ass the simpsons are big part my life put on tonght and towarow thingt as wall ples how much are the simpsons hollwoen spcaels on dvd let me kow