Pay dispute could shorten Simpsons

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Think about some of the most familiar-sounding voices in television history, and several of them belong to the yellow-skinned, bug-eyed, four-fingered citizens of Springfield, better known as the characters in The Simpsons.

However, the people who provide those voices are making their own voices heard. The voice actors on The Simpsons are still negotiating a contract with Fox, according to Variety.

The haggling could cost more than just Fox. With production stopped, next season could lose a few episodes, which would drop the 22-episode order to 20 because The Simpsons is about two months behind schedule.

The two sides at odds are apparently close to striking a deal, and if reports are to be believed, it would be a very lucrative deal for the main cast. Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Harry Shearer could all see their per-episode salaries jump to half a million dollars apiece--approaching those of many major sitcom stars that provide both voice and body. The Simpsons cast is currently believed to be making about $360,000 per episode per person, a far cry from the $30,000 that they pocketed per show in the late 1990s.

Fox has been shelling out the money for its animated properties recently, locking up Family Guy creator and voice actor Seth McFarlane for a deal that could be worth up to $100 million.

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