We get it. The Simpsons are an iconic American bunch. But maybe it's time to say goodbye. The Internet's buzzing with news that Fox executives are threatening to pull the plug on the long-running Sunday-night cartoon if the show's six main voice actors don't agree to a 45-percent pay cut.
In a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter, the studio says, "We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model."
Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Julie Kavner, Harry Shearer, Nancy Cartwright, and Yeardley Smith, who voice the bulk of Springfield, currently make about $8 million a year. However, if the studio wins, they'd each take home $3.6 million per season for 22 weeks of voice-over work.
We don't know what type of deal The Simpsons actors have in terms of syndication money or merchandising, and we can totally understand not wanting to settle for a pay cut. But walking away before the studio axes the show might be the best decision for everybody. After all, The Simpsons aren't really The Simpsons anymore. Comedically, the show is subpar on its own network.
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There was a time when The Simpsons was the funniest show on television. But now it's not even the funniest cartoon in Fox's Sunday-night lineup. While Family Guy, Bob's Burgers, and the Cleveland Show push the boundaries of TV comedy, The Simpsons plays it safe. The jokes are tired and recycled, and the characters have become increasingly predictable.
Nevertheless, folks still tune in. But for the sake of integrity, calling it quits may be the best solution to this unresolved issue. The franchise has already conquered the box office, launched a Universal Studios theme park attraction, and achieved worldwide syndication.
Enough is enough.