Fellow fans of The Simpsons, get ready to lift up your arms in protest. In a rather ballsy move, Fox is apparently threatening to pull the plug on the show if the voice actors don't accept a 45 percent pay cut, according to The Daily Beast. The series concludes its 23rd season in the spring, and it may be the end if Fox makes good on its alleged threat.
For Fox, there are some definite upsides to the show ending, the least of which may be the inevitable Blu-ray mega-collection (and eventual Blu-ray 3D mega-collection-- c'mon, you know it's gonna happen). The studio was recently reported to be in early discussions concerning the future of The Simpsons after its legendary run comes to an end. The possibility of an all-Simpsons TV channel was mentioned, although some sort of digital streaming program, possibly even subscription-based, seems much more likely given the direction the world is headed.
Fox has issued a statement on the news to Deadline, and it sounds like the original report is accurate: "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."
So there you have it. In short: The show is too expensive to produce in today's climate, and cutbacks need to happen. It'll be interesting to see how creator Matt Groening and his talented cast respond; salary issues are nothing new for the series, but the grim financial outlook in recent times is a hard thing to argue with.