The Simpson family and Springfield have faced the potential of annihilation many times before in episodes of the show. Now, they face their biggest challenge of all: cancellation.
According to The Daily Beast, FOX executives have issued an ultimatum of sorts on "The Simpsons," a mainstay in FOX's lineup since 1990. If the voice actors do not comply to a significant pay decrease, the network will reportedly pull the plug on TV's longest-running prime-time sitcom, spelling the end for Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Maggie and the rest of Springfield's characters.
The publication reports that network executives are demanding that the actors who voice The Simpsons' characters must take a pay cut of 45 percent from the $8 million they earn per season if a 24th season of the sitcom will begin production. The voice actors were reportedly willing to cut their salaries by one-third in exchange for some of the show's profits.
The premiere episode of "The Simpsons" was a Christmas special in 1989. Since then, the show has morphed into a multi-billion dollar worldwide revenue stream for its creators and the network, stretching from clothing apparel to video games to a successful big-screen adaptation in 2007. The show was also notable in helping to launch the career of late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien, who was the show's head writer before getting the NBC "Late Night" job in 1993.
The show's ratings are significantly lower than they were at the show's peak, but the show still occupies the same 8 p.m. time slot on Sunday nights it's run in since 1994.