Simpsons' future at risk?

The Simpsons / The Simpsons Wiki

A world without the Simpsons? Say it ain't so, D'oh!

The longest running situation comedy in television history is in danger of not being around for a 24th season, according to the Daily Beast. The reason? money.

According to published reports, Fox Television has asked the six principle voice talents who give life to the animated characters to take a 45 percent pay cut. Right now, the men and women who give voice to Homer, Maggie, Marge, Lisa, Bart and all the their fellow residents of Springfield pull down about $8 million a season for producing 22 episodes. Fox Television issued a statement that said, in part, "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."

The actors, Dan Castellanetta, Yeardley Smith, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria have responded with a counter proposal, offering to take a 30 percent pay cut in exchange for a percentage of the lucrative merchandising and syndication revenue. The show's executives were not receptive, according to the Daily Beast.

If the impasse remains unresolved and The Simpsons goes off the air, it will be the end of an era without parallel in the annals of television.

The show aired its first episode on December 17, 1989. Most students enrolled in college can not remember a television world that did not include The Simpsons. The show is the longest running sitcom in television history. It has aired 488 episodes in it's 23 seasons.

This is not the first dispute between the cast and the owners of the show. Fox has been willing to let lesser known voice talent such as Maggie Roswell who voiced the Simpson's next door neighbor, Maude Flanders as well as Lisa's teacher Ms. Hoover. However, past disputes have been over how much more the cast was going to earn, not over pay cuts.

While Fox Studios employes negotiating tactics worthy of C. Montgomery Burns, fans of the show wait with bated breath.

If the Simpsons goes off the air, will you miss it, or do you think the show is past its prime?