Negotiating together, Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms are asking for $15 million each (against backend) to reprise their roles, and they now are likely to get it.
For many years now, the cast of “The Simpsons” has been trying to get Fox to agree that, like so many other people who’ve contributed significantly to the show’s success, we be allowed a tiny share of the billions of dollars in profits the show has earned. Fox has consistently refused to even consider the matter. Instead, it’s paid us salaries that, while ridiculous by any normal standard, pale in comparison to what the show’s profit participants have been taking home.
Now, as the show enters its twenty-third season, we are engaged in what will probably be our last contract negotiation with Fox. As you may have heard, the network has taken the position that “The Simpsons” no longer makes enough money and that unless we in the cast accept a 45% pay cut, they are not going to bring the show back for a twenty-fourth season.
Obviously, there are a lot more important things going on in the world right now, in the streets of New York and elsewhere. But given how many people seem to care about what happens to our show – and how much misinformation has been flying around – I thought it might make sense for at least one member of the cast to speak out directly. I should note that I am speaking only for myself, and not for any of the other actors on the show.
Fox wants to cut our salaries in half because it says it can’t afford to continue making the show under what it calls the existing business model. Fox hasn’t explained what kind of new business model it has formulated to keep the show on the air, but clearly the less money they have to pay us in salary, the more they’re able to afford to continue broadcasting the show. And to this I say, fine – if pay cuts are what it will take to keep the show on the air, then cut my pay. In fact, to make it as easy as possible for Fox to keep new episodes of “The Simpsons” coming, I’m willing to let them cut my salary not just 45% but more than 70% – down to half of what they said they would be willing to pay us. All I would ask in return is that I be allowed a small share of the eventual profits.
My representatives broached this idea to Fox yesterday, asking the network how low a salary number I would have to accept to make a profit participation feasible. My representatives were told there was no such number. There were, the Fox people said, simply no circumstances under which the network would consider allowing me or any of the actors to share in the show’s success.
As a member of the “Simpsons” cast for 23 years, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve had a great run and no one should feel sorry for any of us. But given how much joy the show has given so many people over the years – and given how many billions of dollars in profits News Corp. has earned and will earn from it – I find it hard to believe that this is Fox’s final word on the subject. At least I certainly hope it isn’t, because the alternative is to cancel the show or fire me for having the gall to try to save the show by helping Fox with its new business model. Neither would be a fair result – either to those of us who have committed so many years to the show or to its loyal fans who make our effort worthwhile.
Kurt Sutter, creator of Sons of Anarchy, has some interesting theories about AMC and the financial firestorm that has put their three best shows not only at odds but in jeopardy. (Read from the bottom up).
While I wouldn’t put it as harshly, Mad Men’s budget demands do seem to have repercussions on the negotiations and issues at Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. I wouldn’t blame Weiner, because Mad Men is that good and deserves the right budget for its creative freedom, but it’s a shame that it comes at the expense of the others.
The question then is, does AMC have enough money to sustain the level of quality it’s set for itself?
Deadline reports that the deal will be for 13-20 more episode spread over two seasons, and that’s all folks.
Negotiations are underway between AMC and Breaking Bad producers Sony over the future of the acclaimed show. Much like the talks AMC has had to have with Mad Men and The Walking Dead, the network attempted to cut some of the costs of the program.
In this case, the LA Times reports that AMC wished to limit season five to 6 or 8 episodes, down from the usual 13. Of course the creative forces behind the show were not happy about this which lead Sony to begin reaching out to other networks.
While an agreement is expected, the article speculates that season five could be the last for Breaking Bad.
McG is the choice to direct Ouija, the Universal Pictures supernatural action adventure that will follow Battleship as the next Hasbro branded property to move into production. Scripted by Tron: Legacy writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the film is being produced by Hasbro’s Brian Goldner and Bennett Schneir along with Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form. Production will begin by the summer, for release November 12, 2012.
I’ve learned that the stars of The Big Bang Theoryare getting fat new paychecks just as the hit CBS comedy is getting ready for its big move to Thursdays next week. After almost 3 months of negotiations with series producer Warner Bros TV, Big Bang leads Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons have agreed to a major salary hike that would bring the trio’s salaries to $200,000 an episode for the upcoming fourth season, up from about $60,000 last season. The salaries will rise to $250,000 in Season 5, then $300,000 in Season 6 and 350,000 in Season 7. Additionally, they will each receive .25 point of the series’ lucrative backend and will be paid $1+ million as an advance against it now and another $1 million in Season 7. That effectively adds another $50,000 to their per-episode paycheck over the life of the deal.
I hear Galecki and Cuoco, who have been negotiating together, closed their deals on Monday in a face-to-face meeting between their representatives and Warner Bros following a powwow with the two actors and their teams on Friday where the studio’s final offer was presented. Meanwhile, recent Emmy winner Jim Parsons had been holding out for more money and had handled his negotiations separately despite the fact that he is represented by the same law firm as Galecki and Cuoco (Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren & Richman). I learned that Parsons was offered the same deal as Galecki and Cuoco and given a deadline to take the take it or leave it by today. He just accepted. Talk about hardball: I hear the studio, which had made it clear it was planning to do “favored nations”-type deals (paying all the stars the same), was prepared to table re-negotiations with Parsons until next summer if he had turned down the offer.
Sources close to the talent and studio side called this a great deal for a first renegotiation, though some noted that the trio of Big Bang stars could have gotten even bigger salary bumps if Parsons had not gone solo and they all had bargained together. That’s how the Friends cast got to $100,000 an episode each in 1996 dollars during their first renegotiations with Warner Bros after Season 2. Big Bang has the potential to become the next Friends, especiallyif its move to Friends‘ Thursday 8 PM time slot works well. The series is coming off a red-hot 3rd season, in which it became the highest-rated comedy on TV, and a blockbuster syndication deal that netted Warner Bros. $2+ million per episode.
Rival talent unions are teaming up to negotiate against the producers when it comes to prime-time TV rules this fall.
Entertainment law made fun!