Last week, Fox announced a fall schedule that included animated staple "The Simpsons" in its normal Sunday timeslot.
The hitch? There's still no deal with the voice talent behind "The Simpsons." And without one, the 20th season of the series could be in jeopardy.
While sources close to both the voice actors and 20th Century Fox TV are optimistic that they're on the road to a new deal, production on the show's 20th season has been on hold for months -- meaning the studio will probably produce just 20, rather than 22, segs next season.
Should a deal not be reached anytime soon, that number could be reduced further. Pacts are already in place with "The Simpsons" scribes and producer Gracie Films.
The key "Simpsons" cast members -- Dan Castellaneta (Homer), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), Hank Azaria (Moe) and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns) -- are believed to make around $360,000 an episode. A new deal could bump that number closer to $500,000, including various bonuses. That's more in line with the paydays of many live-action sitcom stars (with the exception of bigtime leads like "Two and a Half Men's" Charlie Sheen).
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