Contract impasse renders 'Simpsons' silent

April 1, 2004 at 11:52 AM
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LOS ANGELES, April 1 (UPI) -- The actors who lend their voices to Fox's "The Simpsons" have failed to show up for at least two table reads to press demands for higher pay.

The absenteeism by Homer's, Marge's, Lisa's and Bart's alter egos have stalled production on the popular animated show's 2004-05 season, Daily Variety reported Thursday.

Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu and others), Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns and others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Julie Kavner (Marge) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart) reportedly have asked for a pay increase from their current $125,000 per episode to $360,000 per episode, or $8 million each for a 22-episode season.

Negotiations have reached an impasse because of the salary issue.

Insiders have said the actors work just six to seven hours to voice an episode, which would mean $360,000 for a day's work, an amount that exceeds what top-paid "Everybody Loves Raymond" star Ray Romano makes.

The actors have argued that their salaries are a relatively small piece of the "Simpsons" franchise fortune, which is worth more than $1 billion worldwide.

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