Craig T. Nelson said it during an interview with Access Hollywood. Ed O’Neill complained about the problem as well during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. And it’s going to get worse out here in Hollywood as networks and production companies, under fire to see more profits from advertisers, seek significant decreases in salaries from talent.
The cast of the FOX television show The Simpsons each receive $400,000 per episode for their voice work on the show that has been on the air for over 20 years. The new season for The Simpsons is in full cardiac arrest as 20th Television, the producers of the show, look to make that per episode cost drop before new production begins.
With six cast members generating $400,000 each per episode, well you do the math just for talent and not the behind the scenes writers, producers or animators for the show. Put that over $3,000,000 per episode and ad profits are quite low or not even attainable for FOX. And FOX, with its many issues in prime-time and their cable properties for profit, salaries paid to voice-over talent can lead the show to cancellation.
The challenges of making programs profitable versus ad dollars is continuing to put a drain on company profits for networks. And production companies and networks, under serious pressure to increase valuation on you guessed it Wall Street, see these talent wages as a great target.
Harry Shearer, who voices Homer Simpson on the FOX show released a statement today about the ongoing negotiations for a salary adjustment. He says he will take a 70% drop in his $400,000 per episode take home for a hit on the back-end syndication agreement.
FOX ain’t gonna go for that. But a nice offer. There’s no way even on Terra Nova that any company is going to set precedent and allow that.
Talent in Hollywood is in trouble and it’s not going to get any better. In an interview with Access Hollywood, Nelson was set to star in O’Neill’s role on ABC’s Modern Family but turned that deal down because of what he was to be paid. Then Parenthood came along and he took that gig.
This negotiation will set the trend for talent on television as networks struggle in this economy to become profitable. Local TV stations have already depressed salaries of talent. The million dollar a year anchor gigs have gone by the wayside in local TV news and it was just a matter of time before this shifted to where the big dollars are spent.
The days of big salaries are on the decline. If The Simpsons gets canceled it will send a chill throughout the talent community that is cooling off on its own.
Read some more of Harry Shearer’s comments at the Hollywood Reporter link below.
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