Look, the decline in quality over at The Simpsons (for what, a decade+ now?) is a long, tired topic, but there’s no doubt the show has become an institution. Considering I don’t feel like any void in FOX programming left by cancelling The Simpsons would suddenly be filled with something better, it’s always worth a “that’s neat” to hear about the latest record the show has broken on its course to being the longest-running Sit-com ever. That might all come crashing down to a sudden and graceless ending though, as money disputes are threatening to kill the show for good.
It boils down to this: Fox wants to cut budgets for all shows, and in The Simpsons case this means demanding a 45% pay-cut from the principle cast of the show, which would knock their salaries down from about $8m a year to $4m a year. The voice actors however, are looking to drop their salaries by about 30% and carve out a very small (infinitesimally small, I’d imagine) chunk of the licensing money the show makes. The actors have always been left out of that revenue stream while the studio has made billions. All of this is to say the actors are rich as hell, but are still netting a relatively small sum from the monolithic amounts of cash the show makes. Meaning billions. With a B.
The problem is that Fox doesn’t see the actors as an integral part of the show, and seem perfectly happy to replace actors or shut the whole thing down and coast on the hundreds and hundreds of episodes they’ve already made. Frankly, this sounds very much like a situation where the actors fold or the show dies. I can’t say which is more likely though. Either way, Fox wins. They own an episode library and, more importantly, character images that will money for decades no matter what. This isn’t an AMC Walking Dead/Mad Men scenario at all.
When’s the last time Disney made a Mickey Mouse cartoon that anybody actually watched..? And does anyone get upset when Mickey’s voice is a little different? And how powerful is that brand still?
Source | Daily Beast (Thanks to Brian Henne!)