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Simpsons Ends, "Greediness", and the "Fair Share"

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So according to Fox the t.v. show the Simpsons has become unprofitable to continue another season without lowering the stars earnings. And as it stands they're only considering one final season at best, and outright ending the show at worst if no agreement is reached.

http://screenrant.com/the-simpsons-final-season-24-aco-135041/

If you follow the show you know that the stars have continued to insist an increasing pay per episode over the years. At one point they were seeking $500k per episode and agreed upon $440k. Now Fox would like to make one more season but only if they agree to a $250k per episode deal.

This has quickly become an issue about "greed" and what makes a "fair share" in the business world. Commenters say the voice actors are greedy for wanting more money, voice actors say the Fox businesses leaders are greedy for not sharing more profits.

And now Harry Shearer has commented on the subject.

http://tv.ign.com/articles/119/1198948p1.html

So what do you think? I have a hard time evaluating their situation without much insight into the "biz" works. For me the Simpsons became unfunny about 8 years ago or more and hasn't deserved to stay on the air this long, let alone command $440k figures for voice actors who schill for Scientology.

So is this a case of the Simpsons being strangled to death by extorting voice actors? Here I'm thinking of entrenched unions who fattened themselves on the Michigan automotive industry smothering it. I'm not certain to what extent the voice actors may have union-chummy law leverage versus actually mutually agreed upon contracts.

I think that if the Simpsons ends because of idiotic Leftist notions about profits and greed it would be appropriate seeing as how it's been a mouthpiece for leftism for a while now. In the end it might just be the better and more merciful alternative for a show that has lost all value long ago.

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$250k per episode? For voice-acting? I am struggling to see how their work justifies anywhere near *that* , let alone the much higher figures that the voice-actors actually want.

Though this would not be the first time actors have demanded completely unreasonable pay-levels and ended up contributing to the death of a [formerly] good television series. Kelsey Grammar* and David Hyde Peirce were demanding and getting $1 million for each episode of Frasier. Despite the fact ratings were already falling by the time it ended.

* This by the way, was despite the fact that Grammar was employing an acting technique in which he read the lines, did one rehearsal by himself ( he refused to rehearse with the other actors ) and then did the live performance.

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Will they finally pull this show already?

This is indicative of network affairs and show-business in general. I haven't watched Fox in exactly 5 years, after Arrested Development was cancelled. Sure, pull the show that wins consistent Emmy's and critical praise at half the production cost (it was shot on hand-held cameras for chrissake), in favor of the Simpson's: a bloated, unfunny, irrelevant, inconsistent, piece of garbage.

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Network decision are made where the money's at in the end. The Simpsons, if it hasn't been very profitable in recent years, may have been renewed for fear of viewer backlash, or just because it looks attractive next to other, newer shows on the lineup.

I compared the $400,000 per episode to the only television salary stories I remembered: Julianna Margulies from ER, and Seinfeld. When Margulies announced she was leaving, NBC offered her around $410,000 per episode to stay ($27 million for 3 seasons). This was for a decent show with maybe double the cast members, and at the peak of its popularity. In contrast, The Simpsons is unpopular and unfunny, and has more "mouths to feed." Seinfeld was offered $5 million per episide to stay for another season after he decided to end the show, but NBC was charging $1 million per minute of advertising, at that point, so the economics more than worked out. In contrast, The Simpsons earned $253,170 per minute of advertising in 2010.

It's all about the money. But yeah, from a quality standpoint, it should have been canceled when it stopped being funny. Circa right before Maggie shot Mr. Burns.

Edited by JASKN
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Well, according to those figures, the studio *might* be able to pay the $440,00 per actor per episode then. Though that is rather doubtful...

However, just because the studios might be willing to pay that much , does not mean that the work done is worth that much. Or that the actors are asking reasonable amounts for the work done. Which was really what I was driving at. Sure, they can get it, and they should try get the most they can get. Though I think there is a point at which they are asking for more than any objective assessment of their work says that their work is worth. Even IF the studios are willing to pay that amount anyway.

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I've been wanting to use this reference in perfect context for a while now, and this may be my last chance, so, here goes:

The Simpsons jumped the shark years ago!

Sorry, but Jumped The Shark refers to a show that has dome something utterly ridiculous in order to maintain viewership, not just a show that has sucked for a alot of years.

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Sorry, but Jumped The Shark refers to a show that has dome something utterly ridiculous in order to maintain viewership, not just a show that has sucked for a alot of years.

No, I think I'm completely correct in my usage:

Jumping the shark is an idiom, first employed to describe a moment in the evolution of a television show when it begins a decline in quality that is beyond recovery.

In its initial usage, it referred to the point in a television program's history where it has "outlived its freshness" [1] where viewers feel "the writers have run out of ideas" and that "the series has [lost] what made it attractive."

So, when I say that the Simpsons 'jumped the shark' years ago, I'm saying that at some point it lost its freshness, relevance, and humor. But hey, let's not nit-pick here: point is, the show sucks, has sucked, and will suck, and we're all in agreement here.

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I hate to say it, but this is normally how important stars, voice actors or otherwise, normally negotiate their pay. Tell me, does anyone think that the voices of Homer, Bart, etc., are important to the SIMPSONS? So, they ask for slightly more money every season, because, I hate to say it, actors don't get work all the time, so they have to get money when they can.(voice actors or otherwise) Compared to say, what Charlie Sheen (or however you spell his name) got for being on Two and Half Men, they aren't even paid all that much. He was paid many millions for every SHOW. FOX could be saying this to simply get leverage in negotiations, or maybe the Simpsons aren't drawing as many viewers anymore, which seems more likely. There are many shows that are similar that are much better now anyway. Like South Park.

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I hate to say it, but this is normally how important stars, voice actors or otherwise, normally negotiate their pay. Tell me, does anyone think that the voices of Homer, Bart, etc., are important to the SIMPSONS?

Actors make the characters, even f they don't contribute a single line or thought to the writing of any episode. Fact is we identify the characters with the actors who play them. This leads to type-casting, to be sure, but it also means the success of a character depends on both the actor and the writing.

That said, the Simpsons were very popular for a very long time and made lots of money, not only through selling ads and re-run and foreign rights, but also through merchandising. For the early days of the show, the actors were likely underpaid. It's logical they'd want more money now, when they see the piles of cash made by Fox.

You see this same phenomenon, sometimes, with talented athletes in pro sports. Sometimes a rookie drafted late proves to be a star, but has a salary for a second stringer and a five year contract.

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