This whole thing with the possible cancellation of The Simpsons is getting really troubling. It came out Thursday, via an anonymous source, that Fox has given the producers and voice cast have until today to accept the pay cut, or see the animated sitcom end.
Harry Shearer, who provides the voices of such characters as Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner, issued a statement today firing back at the network for not giving the cast any kind of profit participation in the series, which to date has earned an amount that climbs into the billions of dollars. It's probably no coincidence that the statement's release coincides with Fox deadline.
"I'm willing to let them cut my salary not just 45% but more than 70% -- down to half of what they said they would be willing to pay us," Shearer wrote. "All I would ask in return is that I be allowed a small share of the eventual profits."
He admitted that he doesn't speak for his fellow cast members, but he did add that, "the Fox people said, simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show’s success."
Shearer and fellow cast members Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria have been receiving $400,000 per episode since they re-negotiated their salaries in 2008. An industry analyst estimated earlier this week that Fox stands to reap about $750 million in off-network syndication deals if the show were to be canceled.