The Simpsons Movie

Matt Groening / The Simpsons TM /20th Century Fox

A silent Homer is really no Homer at all, don't you think?

While Fox has renewed The Simpsons for a record-tying 20th season, Variety reports there is currently no new contract in place with the oh-so-essential people who voice the characters on the Emmy-winning sitcom.

Fox had no comment on the report, but one can imagine the repercussions if negotiations remain at an impasse.

Sources close to the show say production has already been delayed for months, and we're already looking at a 20-episode season rather than the standard 22. If a deal isn't arrived at soon, that number could get smaller.

The series' lead talent—Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Yeardley Smith, Nancy Cartwright and Harry Shearer—reportedly make about $360,000 per episode and are angling for a figure closer to $500,000.

Though that sum would be in league with the earnings of some sitcom regulars whose faces actually make it into the picture, the Simpsons crew has argued in the past that they're not asking for much when you take into consideration the profitable workhorse that is The Simpsons brand.

And not at all too much to ask if, like Shearer, you provide the voices for Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns (to name just a few).

Anyway, one insider optimistically told Variety the issue could end up being resolved later this week. And here's hoping that when the cast and Fox eventually wind up breaking bread, they're doing it at a table read.

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