Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Film Romanians

In honor of the upcoming twentieth anniversary half-hour of the Yellow Family, I spent part of the day up at Starz-Film Roman, where work continues on newer high-def episodes of Bart and Co. Off at the north end of the building, Marvel shows continue in work, with more Marvel episodes rolling down the pike. (I was told a second season of super hero half-hours was recently greenlit. Might not be twenty years of cartooning, but hey, it's a start ....)

Over on The Simpsons, an artist told me that earlier this week, one of the longtime leads on the show was informed the current season will be their last. Nothing new with that. A lot of people have been shown the door in Fox's and Gracie Films' unending quest to hammer down budgets.

"He was a good guy, has been with the show for a lot of years. We're guessing that people on the other side of the hill decided he was too expensive, and pushed him overboard ..."

Maybe the boys and girls on Pico are doing it because the show is in its final glide path and they're squeezing out the last few drops of fuel. Or maybe it's because they are settling in for a longer flight:

... John Ortved, author of a new oral history of the show, "The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History" ... [says] "As a vehicle [for licensing], the show is worth having ... Without the show, I think the property is in serious decline."

... Hollywood economics also argue for keeping the show on the air. As producer Bill Lawrence, who agreed to bring "Scrubs" back this season, told The New York Times, "In this economic landscape, if you have the chance to continue a project, you don't just say: 'No big deal. I'll go work somewhere else.' " ...

So who knows? The buzz around Starz-FR is one or two more seasons of The Simpsons, and it's adios. Then again, if the company can get the voice actors to sign on one more time at reasonable rates, maybe the sky's the limit. (You gotta keep that franchise rolling. And new episodes are a fine way to do it.)

We'll revisit this topic five years hence, when The Simpsons enters its twenty-fifth season.


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