The unseen stars of “The Simpsons” — the thesps who provide the voices for Fox’s long-running animated hit — have banded together to ask for a hefty salary increase next season, sources said.
Production on the show’s 10th season was set to begin mid-March, but the actors have been holding out for raises. Sources say the actors –including Hank Azaria, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Harry Shearer and Yeardley Smith — all make under $35,000 per episode, and they’re asking for more than $100,000 per episode for essentially two half-days of work on each seg.
Such a pricey deal would put the cast’s payday in the range of the cast of “Friends” — whose successful salary revolt for more coin last year seems to have inspired the “Simpsons” cast.
While the studio is balking at the six-figure fee, Fox sources say they’ve made a reasonable offer and they hope a deal will be made soon. If the negotiations drag on too long it could make it difficult to get the animated series ready in time for fall. “The Simpsons” is a key asset for the Fox web as it expands on its animated comedy base with “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening’s new comedy “Futurama,” the current Sunday hit “King of the Hill” and the upcoming midseason claymation project “The PJ’s.”