Fox has renewed “The Simpsons” for two more seasons, ensuring that Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie will stick around long enough to celebrate their 25th anniversary in primetime.
The network issued a press release late Friday that announced the animated series mainstay will continue for two additional seasons following the currrent one, bringing the total number of episodes to 559.
The press release did not mention the recent salary dispute with members of the voice cast, which had prompted Fox execs earlier this week to threaten cancellation of “The Simpsons” at the close of its 23rd season. (The Wrap later reported that one unnamed studio insider said the network only wanted to keep “The Simpsons” on the air through season 24, and only if costs could be reduced by 25 to 30 percent.)
A Fox rep said via e-mail that “We do not comment on matters of compensation but I am happy to confirm that all six principal voice actors have signed on for two more seasons.”
A deadline of noon Pacific time Friday had been set for Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer and other key cast members to accept a proposed 45% salary cut. The Hollywood Reporter published a story Friday that said the actors were close to a deal with the network that would mean a decrease in pay, but one less steep than the originally proposed 45%. The cast members reportedly would not receive a portion of “Simpsons” backend profits — from syndication, merchandising and other ancillary revenue generated by the “D’oh” machine — an issue that was a sticking point in the negotiations.
Harry Shearer — voice of Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner and other characters, as well as the most publicly vocal critic of how Fox has handled the situation — so far has been mum on Twitter regarding the latest developments.