What good is money if it can’t inspire terror in your fellow man? It seems that a cast money dispute might halt production of new episodes of the The Simpsons, the longest-running primetime TV series, after the current 23rd season wraps up next spring. And you'll either think this is a merciful development, or the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

20th Century Fox Television is in a battle with the six principle voice actors of the show: Fox studio executives have insisted that the cast accept a whopping 45 percent pay cut, or else they'll pull the plug from the series after this season. The actors had proposed to take around a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a tiny percentage of the show’s huge back-end profits, but the studio rejected it. A Simpsons insider gave The Daily Beast a window into Fox's hardball negotiations:

Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows. The show has made billions in profits over the years and will continue to do so as far as the eye can see down the road. The actors are willing to take a pay cut of roughly a third, but that’s not good enough for Fox.

The cast—Dan Castellaneta (Homer, Grampa Simpson, Krusty the Clown, and others), Julie Kavner (Marge and others), Nancy Cartwright (Bart and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe Szyslak, Chief Wiggum and Apu Nahasapeemapetilon), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, and others)—all make approximately $8 million annually for about 22 weeks’ work.

This isn't the first time that the cast has clashed with the studio: in 1998, 2004 and 2008, the cast all involved in different pay disputes with Fox. Despite the fact Fox threatened to replace them with soundalikes each time, each dispute was settled amicably, and the show lumbered on.

But perhaps it's finally time to let The Simpsons go; some fans believe the show has been going downhill since the at times brilliant Mike Scully-era (there are whole websites devoted to this), and recent hit-but-much-more-miss seasons have been watched by a fraction of the live audience as the prime years (seasons 3-8). If you're only hanging on for the occasionally amazing couch gags (see below), you may be a Spalding Gray in a Rick Dees world.