It's been a long 22-year run for Matt Groening's The Simpsons TV series, but the end seems to be growing very close. Days after word came from Fox that the show would be canceled if the producers and voice actors didn't accept a sizable pay cut, we're hearing that the network is only game to keep things going for another season or two even if the cost-cutting measures are approved.
The Wrap reports that the producers have already accepted the pay cut, and that the actors have until Friday to do the same. The word from an insider is that the actors are being offered a guarantee for two more seasons at their new salary, with the option for a third. Fox is reserving the right to cancel the show after the next season (the 24th for those not keeping score at home), but the contracts will be paid out regardless.
Fox is almost certainly weighing the overall cost of maintaining the show against the appeal of having one of its series run into (and probably conclude in) its 25th season. There's plenty of appeal to just pulling the plug now, however. A market analyst cited by The Hollywood Reporter suggests that the network stands to make upward of $750 million from post-series finale syndication deals. That's an attractive proposition at anytime, but it is especially true for Fox right now, what with the recent scandal and falling stock prices.