Two popular yet very different TV shows are facing the same problem - cutting costs - which could put both programs on the brink of cancellation. The six main voice actors for The Simpsons - Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer - are refusing to take a whopping 45% pay cut. The network insists that if the actors don't take the drastic pay decrease, the series will be cancelled after its record-breaking 23rd year. Here is a statement released by Fox earlier today.
"23 seasons in, The Simpsons is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world. We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come."
It is said that the studio rejected the actors' offer of a 30% pay cut. The actors currently make an estimated $8 million a year for 22 weeks of work. However, billions of dollars are made by The Simpsons through merchandising, DVD sales, and other ancillary markets. The actors have long argued for a cut of these revenues, although they have been declined. Production is scheduled to start next spring on Season 24 of The Simpsons, although if a deal isn't met, the longest-running sitcom in TV history may finally come to an end.
Showtime is currently in a similar situation with its own hit series Dexter, since talks have broken down between the network and series star Michael C. Hall. The actor's contract is up after this current season, which premiered on Sunday night with a record 2.2 million viewers tuning in. That figure is up 24% from the Season 5 premiere. It is said that Showtime is offering Michael C. Hall $20 million for two more seasons of Dexter. The actor is asking for $24 million for two seasons. Negotiations are still ongoing, but it seems there is a big gap to overcome.