Monday, October 17, 2011


It might have gone unnoticed in some circles (and I neglected to mention it here), but a very long and illustrious era nearly came to a very unceremonious end last week.
After more than 20 years, the curtain could finally be coming down on "The Simpsons."
A standoff is reportedly underway between the studio and the show's actors over their multimillion dollar salaries. And if an agreement isn't reached, the show could be canceled for good, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker.
The show holds the record as the longest-running sitcom in the history of broadcasting. But after 23 seasons and nearly 500 episodes, the very future of "The Simpsons" may hang in the balance over a reported pay dispute between Twentieth Century Fox and the actors that provide the voices of the show's beloved characters.
"Basically, the studio would like to see the voice actors take a pretty huge pay cut in order to justify the increasingly skyrocketing expense of doing a show that's been on the air for 23 years," Andrew Wallenstein, TV editor for Variety magazine, tells CBS News.
Nooooooooooooo!!! Oh... thank God.
Fans of “The Simpsons” can breathe a “d’oh!” of relief: The animated series was renewed Friday for two more seasons.
A contract dispute with the show’s voice cast had threatened to end the series, but Fox announced it will air through seasons 24 and 25.
The animated series about the Simpson family, including dad Homer and his familiar “D’oh!” is TV’s longest-running scripted nighttime series.
Negotiations over the future of “The Simpsons,” which began its 23rd season last month, spilled out into the public. Twentieth Century Fox Television, which makes the show, said it couldn’t continue without cutting costs and targeted the salaries of voice actors Harry Shearer, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith and Hank Azaria.
So, I'll admit I'm not exactly an unbiased observer in this situation, because I love The Simpsons. I've clearly watched too much of the show in my life (like, the majority of my four years in college), so much so that I regularly quote it in my daily life ("I am so smart, S-M-R-T"... "the goggles, they do nothing"... "inflammable means flammable? What a country!), some of the songs from the show are deeply and irreparably ingrained in my head ("Can I Borrow A Feeling", "Dr. Zaius Dr. Zaius", "Yvan eht Nioj", and so forth), and that I've seriously considered naming my first-born son "Max", because yeah... Max Powers.

So while the Simpsons may have lost its fastball a few seasons ago, it's still worth a watch, and I'm just not ready for it to be out of my life just yet. And if nothing else, Hank Azaria just amuses the hell out of me. Glad they're still gonna be around.

[CBS News]
[Chicago Sun-Times]

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