After a year or so of rumors it was coming back, last June 20th TV and Comedy Central
announced they were bringing back FUTURAMA
with a deal to produce 26 new episodes. However, the producers downplayed that there was still no deals with the show's original voice cast John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche, Billy West, Tress MacNeille and Katey Sagal. They merely “expressed confidence that all of them would return.”
Not so fast.
One month later salary negotiations completely broke down and just three weeks ago 20th TV announced it was auditioning new actors for the roles.
"We love the Futurama voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands,"
the studio said in a statement. " While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on."
According to some reports, the cast of Futurama
are said to have been offered modest pay increases but insisted on an increase several times what they used to make. When ‘Family Guy’
was picked up for new episodes by Adult Swim in 2005
, the entire voice cast came back for “approximately the same salaries”
they were paid when it originally aired on Fox from 1999-2002. Then again, Comedy Centra
l is notorious for how little they pay and “several times what they used to make"
only sounds like IF what they used to make was a lot.
co-creator, Matt Groening, went through a series of rough renegotiations before. Just like with Futurama, in 1998 20th TV hired casting directors to recast the actors on The Simpsons
. Eventually they worked it out, then again in 2004 and 2008, the series' seasons were cut short after the Simpsons
cast boycotted table reads as part of the tense salary negotiations.
With the casting directors already receiving threats from fans of the show, the topic was supposed to be addressed during the Futurama
panel 20th TV held at Comic-Con 2009.
Well, it was announced yesterday
that the entire voice cast of Futurama
just signed a new contract with Fox and will
be returning. The compromise agreement has the studio paying more and the actors accepting less. The cast reportedly asked Fox for $75,000 per person per episode to return, which the company could not afford. The final number is believed to be under $40,000, but still above what Fox originally offered the stars, according to Variety.
"We are thrilled to have our incredible cast back. The call has already `gone out to the animators to put the mouths back on the characters,"
Futurama creators Groening and David X. Cohen said in a joint statement.