The unpossible money dispute between The Simpsons voice actors and Rupert Murdoch's Fox Television is going to get uglier before it gets better. 20th Century Fox Television execs have been trying to force the show's six principal voice actors to dramatically reduce their reported $8 million salaries and even then won't promise the long-running show has more than this season to live. And what makes this wildly wealthy actors versus the man story even sadder is that at least one of them says they are fine taking a pay cut—if they can just get a tiny bit of loving from the show's still highly profitable back end. Today Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders (among many), came out to explain his (and not necessarily the rest of the cast's) position.

In a piece for The Daily Beast Shearer explained:

Fox wants to cut our salaries in half because it says it can’t afford to continue making the show under what it calls the existing business model. Fox hasn’t explained what kind of new business model it has formulated to keep the show on the air, but clearly the less money they have to pay us in salary, the more they’re able to afford to continue broadcasting the show. And to this I say, fine—if pay cuts are what it will take to keep the show on the air, then cut my pay. In fact, to make it as easy as possible for Fox to keep new episodes of “The Simpsons” coming, 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. All I would ask in return is that I be allowed a small share of the eventual profits.


Sounds like a pretty good deal for Fox, which has made billions on the series, right? Not so fast!

My representatives broached this idea to Fox yesterday," Shearer wrote, "asking the network how low a salary number I would have to accept to make a profit participation feasible. My representatives were told there was no such number. There were, 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.

"As a member of the ‘Simpsons’ cast for 23 years," he concluded, "I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us." Still, "I find it hard to believe that this is Fox’s final word on the subject. At least I certainly hope it isn’t, because the alternative is to cancel the show or fire me for having the gall to try to save the show by helping Fox with its new business model."

Many fans we've spoken to about the possible demise of the great American cartoon that is The Simpsons seem pretty split on the issue. While some are more than happy to see the show keep going for as long as possible (there are still one or two classics each season) we know just as many who are ready to see the old girl put down before things get really bad. Still, having grown up with the people of Springfield for nearly our entire lives, we'll be praying for Mojo.