Fox TV threatens to axe Simpsons in pay row

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The Independent Online

The future of the long-running animated cartoon The Simpsons looked uncertain yesterday after 20th-Century Fox Television said it might drop the show when this season ends.

After an unlikely two-decade pairing between the show's liberally minded creators and the TV network owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, it is a dispute over money, rather than politics, which threatens the show. Fox executives at Fox have told the actors who voice the characters to accept a 45 per cent pay cut. Fox said yesterday: "We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model."

The announcement followed a report on a US website that the six principal cast members – including Dan Castellaneta, who plays Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart) and Yeardley Smith (Lisa) – were having difficulty renegotiating contracts that currently see them earning about $8m each per season. Under the proposed pay cut, they would still make $4m.

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