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Television Media The Almighty Buck

Simpsons Pay Dispute Settled 223

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the a-little-more-doh dept.
ackthpt writes "Simpsons voice actors were receiving $125,000 per episode and considering how wildly profitable the show is for FOX, in syndication and merchandising, the actors felt they should get a bigger piece of the pie. The strike is settled with a 4 year contract for the actors, though FOX is mum about further details, so the show will go on. For a bit more on this see this article on BBC News or The Gate."
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Simpsons Pay Dispute Settled

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  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:49AM (#9033342)
    Just so everybody's clear on this... a four-year contract with the actors doesn't indicate that the show has been promised four more years. TV actor contracts always are conditional on the show going on. So, what this contract means is that the production studio and the actors have agreed on the pay rate table to be used for the next four years, assuming the show goes on that long. If The Simpsons goes five more years into a 20th season, the actors and studio will need to go back to the table to talk money again.

    So, as long as the show keeps going, we can be sure that there's going to be no major cast defections over the next four years.
    • But more immidiately, this contract means that we should get to see all of the episodes in this season. The actors were allready on strike, and FOX had suggested that the final few shows this season might not get made if the contract dispute was not settled soon.
      • by dinivin (444905) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:16AM (#9033454)

        Not quite... All the episodes for this season had been made. They were saying that they might not be able to make all 22 episodes for next season, so they considered not airing a few episodes this season, to fill in the gap for next season.

      • by Rosyna (80334) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:18AM (#9033458) Homepage
        All this shows for this season are long done. Some of the finished ones will not show until next season. There is usually a 8-11 month lead time on the show's production. Audio is usually recorded 8-11 months before the show is completely animated unless they need to loop new dialog in. That is why they covered their mouths on the superbowl episode "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday [snpp.com]" and no so that they could reuse it the next year.
    • by SeinJunkie (751833) <seinjunkie@gmail.com> on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:03AM (#9033393) Homepage
      It seems to me that it's highly improbable that the Simpsons will continue 5 more years. Many of the series fans indicate that the newest seasons' writing tends to be watered down. I'll admit that I liked the writing better around seasons 3-7. I think Fox wants to hold onto the franchise until it is no longer profitable or until they make the movie [snpp.com].

      • Actually, most fans that I know (including myself) consider 9-13 to be really weak, but think that the past two seasons have been quite impressive.

        Adam
        • You're kidding yourself if you think the last two seasons have been impressive. At least seasons 9-13 had the tomacco episode, the Hell's Satans, and Apu's octuplets. Last season's lame Frank Grimes Jr. revenge episode left a bad taste in my mouth and paled in comparison to the original Frank Grimes episode, one of the best episodes ever.

          I truly believe South Park is funnier than The Simpsons these days.

          • Season 14 had some great episodes, such "I'm Spelling as Fast as I Can," "Large Marge," "The Strong Arms of hte Ma," and "Dude, Where's my Ranch."

            In Season 15 we have "My Mother the Carjacker," "Milhouse Doesn't Live Here Any More," "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner," and "The President Wore Pearls."

            All of those are, IMHO, much better than Hell's Satans, and the octuplets episode.

      • Troy: Yes, the Simpsons have come a long way since an old drunk made humans out of his rabbit characters to pay off his gambling debts. Who knows what adventures they'll have between now and the time the show becomes unprofitable?
      • In the Futurama Universe, the Simpsons was still on Fox in new episodes in the year 3000. The original cast was most likely still able to do the voices from their jars.
        • Hopefully Futurama will come back [slashdot.org] from all us geeks buying the DVD sets [amazon.com].

          After sitting and watching through all of them in one weekend with my current flame I realized how similiar our humour was even if she is a dirty hippy who does not like computers. Sigh, oh where are the women that will play with me online and offline?

      • Many of the series fans indicate that the newest seasons' writing tends to be watered down. I'll admit that I liked the writing better around seasons 3-7.

        See, the problem is that "the fans" have been saying that the show was on the downslide since season 7 (Or even season 6 if you're hard-core enough :). They're on, what, season 15 now?

        Needless to say, fans' opinions mean nothing.
  • Pay Raise (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:50AM (#9033343)
    More D'oh!
  • by cibus (670787) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:50AM (#9033346)
    "Were rich - rich as astronautes!"
  • by Chris Tucker (302549) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:50AM (#9033347) Homepage
    Warm, fresh doughnuts to all concernred.

    Mmmmmmmmmmm....... Doughnuts!
  • Radio ad voices (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morcheeba (260908) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:51AM (#9033348) Journal
    I heard the ad for this week's episode [thesimpsons.com] and thought that the voices - especially lisa's - sounded off. But, they must have already dubbed that episode, right? Or was Fox just trying to show that they were willing to use other actors by starting with a substitution in the commercial?
    • Re:Radio ad voices (Score:4, Informative)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @11:06AM (#9033650)
      That's likely because whatever radio station you were listening to has some sort of audio processing equipment in the "audio chain" between the studio switchboard and the broadcast tower. Most radio stations adjust things like bass and reverb so that their format of music sounds better than against a flat equalization.

      TV stations, even though they have the same equipment available to them, don't do that because talk sounds best with a flat equalization, and that's what they're doing most of the time.

      On in the post 9/11/01 days, a lot of music-format radio stations suddenly dumped their regular programming to air network news coverage of the events. A lot of FM music stations got exposed for what they were doing to the music, because there was often an AM talk station that had the same program which could be used as a reference. Several stations toned down their processing so that if they ever have go to flip to news again it would not sound as ugly.
    • Re:Radio ad voices (Score:3, Informative)

      by funkyjunkman (721687)
      Let's not forget that almost all modern radio stations use computers to do their ID and commercial breaks these days. These computer based audio workstations will compress or expand content slightly to work around changes in the schedule.
      For example, let's say an interview goes a little long during a live show. The computer will, over the course of the program, compress pre-recorded content slightly to make up for the overage. It's exactly the same thing that happens on TV. On a lot of daytime syndicated s
  • Not Enough $$ (Score:3, Interesting)

    by krets (645685) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:56AM (#9033369)
    So making a couple million a year is not enough money? These people must be crazy. Well atleast now they can continue making more money in a year than I would need for the rest of my life, and they can do so for the next four years.

    Good for them.

    • Re:Not Enough $$ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SkunkPussy (85271) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:00AM (#9033382) Journal
      yeah but if fox is making loads of money off me, regardless of how happy I am with my wage I would prefer that fox didn't gouge me.
    • Re:Not Enough $$ (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GeekLife.com (84577)
      So the executives at Fox aren't making enough money by keeping all but $125k/episode/actor? They must be crazy.

      The money is pouring in already. It's simply a matter of who gets the gains, and I think the voice actors have a pretty strong point to stand on that they are partially responsible for that money flood.
    • Re:Not Enough $$ (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:26AM (#9033489)
      These people already have enough money to retire and not need to work again while living nicely... so their personal comfort is no longer any incentive to work.

      However, they're still accumulating money for the future of their family... and they're also well aware that News Corp.'s money making machine from The Simpsons would start slowing down if all of them were not to come back to the show.

      That's their reason to hold out... they want their fair cut of the profits, because even though all of them are rich beyond their wildest dreams, that still doesn't make getting taken advantage of feel any better.
    • So making a couple million a year is not enough money? These people must be crazy. Well atleast now they can continue making more money in a year than I would need for the rest of my life, and they can do so for the next four years.

      I'm sure the same can be said about your salary (>$50k?) by someone making $500 a year [cia.gov].

      Good for you.

  • by merikus (722704) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:59AM (#9033374)
    Not that I have any problem with sucking Fox's coffers dry, but why the hell do these people think that 125 K an episode isn't enough? Hell, if I was the star of one of the most successful TV shows of all time and pulling in more than most people make a year each week, I think I'd just be thankful that my life had worked out so well.

    To think that these voice actors would consider destroying a brilliant show which they had benefited so much from because they couldn't live on 125 K a week just makes me sick. The Simpsons could easily be considered a work of art, and I always think the destruction of art for greed is sad. All I know is whatever respect I had for what work they're doing just dropped about 50x.
    • by SlamMan (221834) <squigit@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:07AM (#9033408)
      Well,first, they don't necessarily get paid each week. They get paid per episode. Difference.

      When was the last time you got a raise? Did you feel bad because somebody in a third world country could live on that amount for a year? What you get paid isn't a direct relation between what you need to live on, its of what your work is worth. Their work, since it makes Fox a metric crap load of money, is worth more than yours, which doesn't make a people a crap load of money.
      • I have a good idea of what I think I'm worth. About 6 years ago, when I finally started being paid a bit more than I thought I was worth (after years of getting 2/3 or less) I said so. (It didn't result in my raise being reduced.) I didn't give a darn that someone far away got paid little, but I did care that some of my co-workers might not be getting what they deserved. I want justice for myself and those I deal with. I don't particularly care if my company makes small or large heaps of money, as long as i
    • by mercan01 (458876) <mercan01@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:07AM (#9033410) Journal
      For better or for worse, this is basically the same arguement that Baseball players used in the 1994 strike. It's not that they don't they're getting paid enough to live, it's that they see Fox making millions and millions of dollars. When a business is successful, you usually reward employee's with raises.

      It's the same thing any /. would do if their amazing new fangled program started making a company a boatload of profit.

      However, the money values are so extreme in this case that I agree it's it seems almost pointless to us.
      • When a business is successful, you usually reward employee's with raises.

        Really? I thought when a business was successful, you were supposed to lay off a bunch of workers to drive up your stock price for the short term, cash in on your stock options, and move to a tax shelter island.
    • Look at how popular The Simpsons is. It has become rooted within a generation of people who have watched it for most of their lives. Fox are obligated to give what the actors want because ultimately, they can't afford to lose the actors. They would be better off financially to give the actors what they want than to stop airing the show.
      If it stopped airing, it would mean a dramatic change in way people watch TV, and people don't like change.
      It is sad how money seems has become as important as it has.
    • by uberdrums (598896) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:12AM (#9033431)
      As far as I can tell, they aren't complaining that $125K isn't enough money. Their point is that Fox makes so much money off them that they deserve a more fairly cut slice of the pie. Seinfeld made in the millions per episode for his show. Same reasoning...

      This goes along with people saying actors aren't worth the $20 Million or so to put them in a film. Well, they may not be $20 Million talented, but if their face brings in $250 Million in profits then I would say it's a good investment.
      • by danielsfca2 (696792) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @03:20PM (#9035093) Journal
        Parent is absolutely right. What the whiny slashdot crowd who keeps screaming "Greed!" is forgetting is: What happens to the excess money if they just take whatever amount Fox is willing to give? Let's do an example:
        Let's say Fox makes $1 million in profit per actor per episode, after paying everyone but the actors. If Fox pays the actors $125,000 a piece, that is $875,000 per actor in pure profit into the News Corp's wallet. That's several million dollars per episode to finance Fox News Channel propaganda and generally make a few very rich men even richer and more powerful.

        I think, if the Simpsons actors feel they are making less than their fair market value from Fox they are morally obligated to negotiate a higher salary and perhaps donate the balance to a good cause, or even just do anything with the money that's not evil. That would be better than the alternative of letting News Corp keep it.

        Being willing to let others profit off you and only get a tiny portion of compensation is not a virtue, it's stupidity and it only leads to exploitation by the most corrupt element of society (such as News Corp).
    • Compared to what the Seinfeld actors made, $125k is a paltry sum. It is the same with nearly any other top twenty TV show.
    • by gl4ss (559668) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:19AM (#9033462) Homepage Journal
      huh? easy to say now.

      but when you're on that sound room, dubbing something that will get millions for the suit who is playing golf I'd bet that you'd start having different ideas. call it corruption of mind if you will.. you're on that table with your lawyer making a point that SOMEBODY gets that money and if you're really moralistic about it you can always argue to yourself that you'll do more good with the money(ie. spend it instantly - put it back to circulation, donate it or whatever, you can't donate the money from foxs account but from yours you certainly can).

      Who the money should go to then? fox for owning the franchise or the guys actually doing the show? the show makes gazillions of money, it goes to somebody and sometimes you have play hardball in negotiations. I'm happier that the money goes to them than to some research assholes fox has guessing what we wish to see. this way maybe they even have enough money to do whatever they please(even artistic things) after they're done with simpsons which is way overdue already.

    • by DrEldarion (114072) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:22AM (#9033472)
      In the TV world, 125K per episode is NOTHING for such a popular show. Ray Romano gets 16 times that much (around $2,000,000) per episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond".

      I know there's a big difference between live actors and voice actors, but if you're going to be complaining about people making too much, don't complain about these guys.
      • by Mr. Darl McBride (704524) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:50AM (#9033600)
        In the TV world, 125K per episode is NOTHING for such a popular show. Ray Romano gets 16 times that much (around $2,000,000) per episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond".

        I know there's a big difference between live actors and voice actors, but if you're going to be complaining about people making too much, don't complain about these guys.

        Okay, but the longer a show remains in syndication, the less each new episode is worth. You come to a point where having 1001 shows in syndication isn't worth much more than 1000, and syndication is where shows like The Simpsons make the bulk of their money.

        These guys are substantially increasing the cost of producing a new episode (assuming they didn't also push residuals upward), which means the show is going to get to that cost:returns balance point that much sooner. Two or three years down the line when they lower the new episode count and finally produce the great grand last episode of The Simpsons, and it's all reruns after, will you still be making excuses for these guys? The show could run much longer if everybody weren't holding it hostage to milk it for as much cash as they can. That other folks do it to doesn't make it any less slimy.

        Seriously, $125,000 per episode is some REALLY good pay. In their shoes, that kind of mad cash and knowing I was producing something so integral to American culture would be enough.

        • Wow, you're a serious Simpsons fanatic. You really think the voice talent of the simpsons should just agree to make less money so they'll make more Simpsons episodes? Are episodes of the Simpsons some kind of public good like curing cancer? Repeat after me, "it's just a television show, it's just a television show". It's not "integral" to American culture. Life will go on after it's canceled.

          As far as "substantially" increading the cost of producing each episode, try to realize that it costs about 7 m
      • (I hate raymond.)

        Romano has to show up. Shoot for a week per episode for each show.

        Voice actors will spend a day or day and a half per episode.

        More: voice actors will do most of their work in a bit over a month with some callbacks and be available for other work.

        And when the voices are done, you don't have an episode. You've paid a lot to animators (the folks who design and plan the details of what you see and do key frames), a lot less to outsourced artists in Bangladesh or something making all the

    • by rjelks (635588) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:33AM (#9033531) Homepage
      Do voice actors get paid royalties like normal actors do? If a normal actor had a hit show, they would probably have lots of work in the future. I'm not sure these voice actors could make nearly as much with follow-up work. I'm not saying that $125 per ep isn't a lot...but why shouldn't they negotiate like all the other actors do? I think TV salaries on some shows are kind of crazy, but it's not like they have regular work for the rest of their lives. The Simpsons have had a great run, but most of them probably have a ways to go for retirement. I say they should fight for as much as they can. I wish I was a voice actor on the Simpsons.
      • Some of the voice actors on the Simpsons have done pretty well as screen actors, the most prominent being Hank Azaria [imdb.com]. If you look at the Simpson's IMDB page [imdb.com] you can see that most of the others have done a lot of significant voice work on unrelated, but successful stuff.

        Not that I don't think the actors are entitled to a bigger share of such a successful show. Voice work of a particular person is never the same when imitated by someone else. I know I really miss Jim Henson. Kermit and the others have neve
    • Remember that many successful sitcom stars make well over a million an episode. The fact that they've been working on the show for so long, and it's been so successful, and yet they're making a pittance compared to sitcom actors on similarly successful shows. And why? Because they're doing a cartoon, not a live action sitcom. Maybe there's also an element of wanting to set a precedent. If the simpsons voice actors can't get respected at the same level as other successful tv stars, then what voice actor
    • and pulling in more than most people make a year each week

      ...and about one-tenth as much as the principals in other top-level shows who stand in front of the camera.

      In this household, we obey the laws of economics.

      rj

    • To think that these voice actors would consider destroying a brilliant show which they had benefited so much from because they couldn't live on 125 K a week just makes me sick

      I totally agree! Whatever happened to the value of your work being determined by your education, training, and the hours you put in?

      Most doctors deserve to make a whole lot of money because of their schooling and the immense number of hours they put in every week. Programmers should too, because of their knowledge. A lot of
  • by Anonymous Coward
    -Rupert Murdock
  • I am so happy to hear the strike has been settled. I am calling up Marge Simpson this week to celebrate. With all that cash we are going to have a real spa day.

    Think we are going to get our hair done nice n' blue and puffy!!

  • Thats it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 7aco7om (647266) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:05AM (#9033398)
    The cast of Friends have been paid an average of 1M USD per episode for the last few seasons until the show finally ended after 10 seasons.

    With the Simpsons having been around for 16 seasons, I think it sounds reasonable that the voice actors should be given a raise from 125k. .
  • Amazing. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ljavelin (41345) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:14AM (#9033441)
    The amazing part of it is that FOX executive management decided to forgo $25 million in their own personal salary to keep the show going:

    "The Simpsons is so important to the health of FOX, that it was obvious that we'd have to find the money to keep the network going. We'd either have to export animation overseas, or take a paycut. We felt it was best for our viewers, shareholders, and America to take a paycut".

    Wow!
    • Re:Amazing. (Score:4, Informative)

      by ljavelin (41345) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:16AM (#9033453)
      Oh, sorry, I forgot my <sarcasm mode="bullshit"> tags in that last one.
    • ...they probably regranted themselves the same in stock options or fringe benefits. Like here now, where the politicians have promised to remove the toll ring around the city. Of course, there's something else called road pricing coming, which amounts to exactly the same, only more draconian. Sounds like they're even planning to use the same collection stations, only add some more. But sure, the toll ring is gone, so we keep our promises, we're the good guys, vote for me at next election. Sheesh.

      Kjella
    • We'd either have to export animation overseas

      Hasn't The Simpsons' animation been done overseas from the start?
  • Sharing the D'oh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:20AM (#9033465)
    The Simpson's money-making machine is an interesting study in how the content industry has re-alligned.

    - 20th Century Fox is the production studio.
    - The show's new episodes have been purchased by the Fox Network. (Fox was the first US TV network to share common ownership with a movie/TV production studio. The The ABC-Disney Merger, the CBS-Viacom Merger, and the creation of the United Paramount Network and The Warner Bros. Network all came later.)
    - The show's syndicated episodes from prior seasons are distributed by 20th Cenutry Fox. (Networks used to be forbidden to participate in the syndication market. During that time, off-network reruns needed to be packaged by a seperate syndication company, or distributed by the production company. This rule was striken before this rule applied to Fox.)
    - In most major markets, the show's syndicated reruns are puchased by the Fox Station Group. (In recent years, the laws have changed to allow there to be more such network-owned stations than before because fo a raising of the station ownership limits for a single company.)
    - In many places, the syndicated reruns air during the 7:00 hour. (This would have been blocked by Prime Time Access Rule, but the rule never applied to Fox and was striken rather than modifed to include Fox as a network.)

    In short... several of the steps in The Simpsons money-making machine would have been illegal in the 1970s. I'm not saying that The Simpsons wouldn't have existed under those rules, but the show would be a whole lot less profitable, and the profits would land in more hands than just the bottom line at News Corp.
    • Were all of these relative coincidences? Did FOX push for (m)any of the rule changes you mention?
      • Re:Sharing the D'oh (Score:3, Informative)

        by LostCluster (625375) *
        News Corp. was definitely part of the sides pushing for the ownership increases, as they were very ready to buy up stations as soon as that was allowed.

        News Corp.'s position on the PTAR rule was a funny one... they were fine with it continuing to exist because Fox at the time was not programming enough primetime hours for it to have any impact on them. They just never wanted to see it modified so that it applied to their network, and as it played out it never was.
  • All's fair (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JazFresh (146585) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:23AM (#9033477)
    ...considering how wildly profitable the show is for FOX, in syndication and merchandising, the actors felt they should get a bigger piece of the pie.

    So the writers, animators, technicians and other staff will also be getting equivalent raises... right? Or are the actors just extortionists, knowing that they're hard to replace?

    • Re:All's fair (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dinivin (444905) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:30AM (#9033515)

      Here's the thing:

      If they're that hard to replace, they obviously crucial to the shows success and deserve the raise. If the writers, animators, technicians, and other staff want a raise, they have every right to hold out for one. And if they're as valuable to the show, I'm sure they'll get that raise.

      • Re:All's fair (Score:3, Insightful)

        by zhenlin (722930)
        And here's the worst part:

        The average person probably won't notice a change in plot style, minor style changes or anything that would result in those staff being replaced. But they would recognise the change in voices. Likewise for live-action movies/shows: they would probably not realise the change in writing/plot style, nor style, nor special effects, but changing the actor would stick out like a sore thumb.

        Then again, Dumbledore in Harry Potter was replaced recently, we'll see how people react to that.
        • Ummm. I believe the actor who played Dumbledore in Harry Potter died.

          Slight difference from being "replaced". However, the only reason I know that is because of my girlfriend... (yes, some of us have 'em..)
      • Maybe they did hold out for a raise... Maybe that's why every Simpsons episode for the past 2 years has been crap... Perhaps all the writers got thrown out and their jobs outsourced to people that don't understand humor...
      • If they're that hard to replace, they obviously crucial to the shows success and deserve the raise.
        A logical fallacy. While the first part is correct, the second part doesn't necessarily follow. Their voices are familiar to listeners, but not because of anything these actors have done.
        • Their voices are familiar to listeners, but not because of anything these actors have done.

          Their voices wouldn't be familiar if it weren't for the fact that the actors have spoken with those voices. So, in fact, these actors have done something. If they hadn't, they wouldn't be getting the raise.

          Dinivin
          • Technically you're right. But I meant that they haven't done anything special, they just acted the voices in the show. If you would play one of the characters, Simpsons would be just as popular, but now the public would remember your voice.
  • by Mr. Darl McBride (704524) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:39AM (#9033558)
    I believe there are four main voice actors. There are about 20 minutes of show after commercials, and 3/4 of the show is spoken. So 20 * 3/4 / 4 is about 3.5 minutes of dialog per actor.

    I'm timing myself at about 7 syllables per second, speaking about as quickly as the Simpsons characters do when on a roll.

    So $125,000 / 7 / (3.5*60) comes to about $85 per syllable.

    Having them read this post would cost me about 168 syllables * $85 is $14,280.

    • ...try professional boxing. The pay per second can get pretty damn high.

      Kjella
      • The big difference is that anybody qualified to take on the boxing champ can do it.

        High-paid voice actors are lottery winners. Any other reasonable choice of 6 or 7 different voices would have worked just as well, but obviously there's no switching them now.

  • by wfberg (24378) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @10:53AM (#9033612)
    ... is that no-one is saying "Yay! More Simpsons episodes!! Gee golly, I'm sure glad about that, why, that show just keeps on pushing the envelope, it's a miracle they've been around this long and STILL haven't jumped the shark! It sure is better than all those cancelled shows like Family Guy or Futurama and stuff like that.."

    Nope, none of that here..

    I guess the voice actors asked for a raise realising that whatever they get now is going to be their pension.. .. Worst .. Raise .. Ever ..
  • when the series reaches its end, few of the actors will ever be able to find work again. Well, Harry Shearer can always go back to Spinal Tap or The Folksmen. But Yeardley Smith or Julie Cavner are never going to find another job. They damned well ought to milk as much money from this cash cow as possible.
  • Actual figure (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Matt2k (688738) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @12:01PM (#9033939)
    $125,000 an episode

    What, 23ish episodes per season

    Let's estimate and say Federal tax + state tax + social security + medicaid tax is around 50-55% (Someone feel free to correct me)

    Now we're talking $68K per episode, or around a million and a half dollars a year. Another poster mentioned that there are four main voice actors. This is chump change for the studio.

    Contrast that to how much Fox makes on a season of the Simpsons and it does seem awfully unfair.
    • Even if there are 50-55% taxes taken out, FOX is still paying that money. The voice actors are then paying it to the government. Also, I believe the tax rate works out to somewhere around 33%. It's a little wacky because you pay 10% on the first 10k or so, then ~15% up to 30k or so, etc. The top tax rate was 35% for 2004. That was for income above $319,000 a year. Note that under President Clinton, this tax rate was 38.5%, over $288k. For the purposes of this post, I used the Single brackets. When it comes
  • I'm all for this.

    This means Harry Shearer can do lots of other work, esp. political satire on N.P.R., and not need to be paid much to do it.

    call it a political satire subsidy.
  • by ajservo (708572) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @12:45PM (#9034158)
    Just be forewarned, FOX could have easily spent this money on developing even MORE crappy reality TV shows... All the development costs go to a six pack of beer and a half crazed development exec, who thinks up all their reality programming.

    With the sole exceptions of Simpsons, 24, and Bernie Mac, FOX hates it's viewers... (The Littlest Groom, When Animals Attack, World's Deadliest _______?, Who wants to Marry a Millionaire, The Mask, Return to Eden..., etc...)

    Do ANY of you want the Swan to return?

    I didn't think so...
    • Let's not forget Wonderfalls and Andy Richter and Firefly and all the other truly great and original shows that Fox was so quick to pull the plug on so.

      But it's not really Fox's fault. People didn't watch those shows. They watch shows like World's Scariest Police Shootouts III and Who Wants to Marry a Transvestite Hooker. They don't hate their viewers. They give them exactly what they want. And rating have shown that reality shows about midgets are what people want.

      It's simple really. Fox is in the adv

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @01:13PM (#9034338) Homepage
    Yes, how much does Matt Groening make per episode? More than the voice actors, I hope.

    He supposedly made $18 million in 1997, and made the Forbes list of the top 40 richest entertainers.

  • Now they can afford to go out and buy some Cayeneros [thesimpsons.com] to drive around :)!
  • Speaking of overpaid (voice)actors, what about all the people who work on the film crews? Many actors, including the "Friends" cast are making many hundreds of thousands of dollars per television show or movie.

    We seldom hear how much the camera, sound, makeup, special effects crew make per hour. I'm sure the lead camera or sound person makes considerable dough. What of the assistants etc who spend equally long hours? Anybody have any ball-point figures for comparison?
  • by notsoclever (748131) on Sunday May 02, 2004 @09:14PM (#9037105) Journal
    maybe they should have gone on strike for the benefit of the animators, who have an exceedingly difficult and thankless job.

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