We’ve all been reading the speculation that “The Simpsons” is the on the chopping block and is going to be canceled any day now. It’s just celebrated its 25th anniversary and 26th season renewal among budget concerns, 30% pay cuts for actors, and diminishing ratings. An episode from the 23rd season was even written as a potential series finale should the pay disputes (for that year) not work out. We’ve had to deal with these rumors for years, but this year they seem more persistent than ever. So do Simpsons fans have to worry that their favorite show is going away and they’ll only have the 500 plus episodes to watch from this point on?
The answer is no, you don’t.
Rest well Simpsons fans, the show isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The recent #EverySimpsonsEpisodeEver marathon on FXX has insured this show will likely be around until at least the 30th season. This was a network that was in 49th place in the ratings (sometimes lower). When they spent $2 billion to acquire the rights to rerun the entire show on their network and launch an interactive app for smartphones and tablets many claimed the price was too high. Why would people watch the show on TV when the best seasons were already on DVD? Well, turns out the fans didn’t mind watching the show on TV. In fact, Simpsons episode references were trending on Facebook and Twitter at random parts during the day as people talked about their favorite episodes.
The marathon also brought in so many viewers that the show brought FXX all the way up to 3rd in the ratings for all the networks! That’s a pretty powerful show. With those kinds of numbers don’t expect “The Simpsons” to go away any time soon. What about the production costs dispute that forced the actors and producers to take a 30% cut in pay to save it? It’s true that Fox wanted to cut the costs of the show, however there was an aspect of the negotiating that was not as well reported on. Voice actor Harry Shearer convinced the other actors to offer to have their pay cut 70% in exchange for royalties on the show and merchandise from this point on. Fox would not even consider this. If the show was really getting to be unprofitable this would be a winning deal for the network.
It’s true that the show itself hasn’t been making much money these days, but in an oversaturated media world shows in general don’t make the kind of profits they used to. Money is made on DVD’s, merchandise, film adaptations, and Happy Meal promotions. “The Simpsons” still makes millions of dollars a year in these departments. Fox does not want that well to dry up if they can help it. Continuing to make new episodes is the best way to insure this doesn’t happen. The reason they tried to force the budget of the show down was because the ratings gave them a huge bargaining chip and companies like to save money when they can. The fact that the budget wasn’t cut more dramatically is a testament to the show itself. I also believe that Fox wants to keep the show alive long enough to get a second movie out of the deal. So rest easy fans, I suspect you’ll be hearing ‘D’oh’ on a weekly basis for many years to come!