The Simpsons Stars Agree to Pay Cuts—and Get a Two-Year Lease on Life!

Salary slash reportedly isn't as steep as the 45 percent that Fox was initially hoping for, but that doesn't mean the cast is happy

By Natalie Finn Oct 08, 2011 12:00 AMTags
The SimpsonsFOX

Mr. Burns would say "excellent." But he's probably the only one.

The Simpsons' six principal vocal talents have agreed to a pay cut in order to keep the pioneering, record-setting show on the air past its current 23rd season. And sure enough, after the back room dealing was over, Fox proudly announced that it had renewed The Simpsons for a 24th and 25th season.

Meanwhile the salary cut was not the reported 45 percent that Fox was looking to slash from the budget, But guess who's willing to take a 70 percent(!) cut—in exchange for what he feels he and his fellow actors are rightly owed, of course?

"The Fox people said [there were] simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show's success," said Harry Shearer, aka Mr. Burns, Smithers, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, et al., in a statement to E! News.

"As a member of the The Simpsons cast for 23 years, I think it's fair to say that we've had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us. But given how much joy the show has given so many people over the years—and given how many billions of dollars in profits News Corp. has earned and will earn from it—I find it hard to believe that this is Fox's final word on the subject.

"At least I certainly hope it isn't, because the alternative is to cancel the show or fire me for having the gall to try to save the show by helping Fox with its new business model. Neither would be a fair result—either to those of us who have committed so many years to the show or to its loyal fans who make our effort worthwhile."

Letting Shearer go would leave quite a few people (fictional and otherwise) speechless, that's for sure.

Since 2008's round of raises, he and fellow stars Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith and Nancy Cartwright were each making a reported $400,000 per episode.

Yesterday, the series' top producers agreed to a paycut, but they already have the back-end deals—a cut of the royalties from merchandise, syndication and other revenue streams—that Shearer and his costars have been seeking for themselves.

She could be just as steamed as Shearer, but Cartwright put things a little differently Friday: "The Simpsons is a remarkable chronicle of our times. I've wanted to do this since I was 16!  And I want to keep doing it until I am 86!  Long live The Simpsons."

And to think, Bart Simpson still won't have aged a day.