TV shows The Simpsons and Dexter are in jeopardy of ending due to contract disputes. Fox wants to cut the salaries of The Simpsons show regulars Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer by next spring and Showtime does not want to meet Michael C. Hall‘s asking price for more seasons of Dexter. I find this news very surprising since The Simpsons (and Married with Children) built Fox and now they want to pay the people that voice one of the most popular cable network TV shows less – very strange. I would think bonuses would be in order instead.
The official statement released by Fox on The Simpsons situation:
23 seasons in, The Simpsons is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world. We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come.
This official statement is in response to the actors’ proposal submitted late last week, in which they proposed:
to take a cut of around 30 percent in exchange for a tiny percentage of the show’s huge back-end profits—amounting to untold billions—from syndication around the globe and merchandising of Simpsons clothing, lunchboxes, stamps, DVDs, a feature film, and videogames, among other paraphernalia.
Obviously the actors offer was not good enough for Fox calculates that they will make money on the show whether new episodes are produced or not thus they feel no need to concede to the actors’ proposal which caused the de facto ultimatum.
“Fox is taking the position that unless they can cut the production costs really drastically, they’ll pull the plug on new shows,” said a Simpsons insider with knowledge of the negotiations. “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.”
Regarding Showtime favorite Dexter, it opened its “sixth season on Sunday with a stellar 2.2 million viewers, up 24% from last year to mark the hit series’ highest-rated premiere ever and Showtime’s best original series opener in at least 14 years.” With those numbers and the fact that Michael C. Hall is the star of the show, Hall has asked for more money to continue as the titular psychopath.
On the negotiations:
the two sides [have] reached an impasse yesterday, the same day Dexter‘s big Season 6 premiere ratings came out. Hall’s contract for Dexter is up after the current sixth season, which is about to wrap production. He has been negotiating with Showtime for a while, but I hear talks broke down after the two sides couldn’t bridge a $4 million gap in proposed salary for a new deal, with Showtime offering $20 million for two more seasons and Hall’s team asking for $24 million. Either figure would make Hall one of the highest-paid actors in cable. Sources indicate that the network brass remain hopeful about reaching a deal, with signing Hall for one more season vs. two also an option.
Michael C. Hall has been working on Dexter for nearly a decade before that Six Feet Under, an additional reason for his request but also the cause of his personal leverage. He wants to do other things with his acting career and if Showtime doesn’t meet his demands, it may very well be the impetus he needs to walk away entirely from Dexter and pursue his other aspirations.
I have not watched The Simpsons in years – the show is static, no growth even though the animation has greatly improved. Dexter is intriguing because of its main character and his duplicity but the new season is not doing much for me yet (our review for this season’s first episode: Dexter: Season 6, Episode 1: Those Kinds of Things). If The Simpson‘s ended I could not care less. If Dexter ended prematurely, it would be unfortunate.
What do you think? Do you watch The Simpsons, Dexter? Which is your favorite show? Would them coming to an end of cash bother you?