14
May
15

Please Stop With the $14 Million Number

The Old Man and the Lisa17

“If I’d spent my life listening to Dismal Doras like you, I wouldn’t be worth two-hundred-million dollars today.” – C.M. Burns
“But according to your most recent biography, you only have one-hundred-million dollars today.” – Lisa Simpson
“I’ve ha-, . . . I’ve . . . ” – C.M. Burns
“Um, actually, sir, it’s, uh, considerably less than that.” – Mr. Smithers

A nice, headline grabbing number, preferably with a dollar sign next to it, is a well known pageview booster.  So let this be my usual renewal related reminder that there is no creditable public information on what the current or past salaries of the Simpsons voice actors are/were.  Back before the 2011 renewal, the widely cited figure was $400,000 per episode.  After that it came down somewhat to $300,000 (though I saw it mentioned as low as $200,000).  Now, thanks to the feckless morons at CNN Money (a backwater in an already grossly negligent and irresponsible news outfit), the current deal is being touted at $7,000,000 per year, or $318,182 per episode:

‘Simpsons’ Mr. Burns walking away from $14 million deal

What is their source for that eye catching number?  You’ll be shocked (shocked, I tell you!) to learn it’s an anonymous source:

The actor was offered a guaranteed $14 million for two years of work, according to someone with direct knowledge of the matter.

Okay, sometimes people don’t want to go on record, and that’s okay.  That factual information reaches the public is supposed to be the important part, right?  Well, here’s the kicker:

“To me, the deal he rejected would be the dream of a lifetime for the rest of the world,” the source said.

That’s not information.  That’s spin.  Moreover, it almost certainly marks this source as someone at FOX since s/he’s painting Shearer as walking away from “the dream of a lifetime for the rest of the world”, that ungrateful bastard.

Shearer himself has said in the past that the reported salary numbers are inaccurate, and I’m far more inclined to believe him than some nameless insider who feeds bullshit like that to CNN Money.  Remember, Shearer and the rest of the cast are forbidden from discussing what they’re actually paid, so FOX and their anonymous flacks have a free hand to inflate the numbers and paint the cast as greedy jackasses, and CNN Money is only too happy to help them do it.

Shoddy information coming from CNN is nothing new, of course.  The real problem is that people repeat these numbers so many times that they seem credible even when transparent horseshit like the above link is the only basis for it.  It’s happening already:

14milliondollarbullshit

And it’s not just Simpsons or entertainment related outlets that unquestioningly repeat this.  The Chicago Tribune already picked it up, and I even saw it on freaking Slashdot.

So, pretty please, with sugar on top, remember that you don’t know how much money the Simpsons voice actors make.  I don’t know how much the Simpsons voice actors make.  And the business/entertainment press for damn sure doesn’t know how much the Simpsons voice actors make.


27 Responses to “Please Stop With the $14 Million Number”


  1. 1 Noah P
    14 May 2015 at 6:01 pm

    I personally hope he ends up staying.
    No matter your opinion on the current state of the show (whether you’re a member of the Dead Homer Society or…uh, Alive Homer Society), I think we can all agree it shouldn’t end up with a principle voice actor leaving. That just isn’t right.

    • 2 Gabbo
      14 May 2015 at 6:49 pm

      You know, i’m gonna have to agree with you on that. I would rather have the show end because of his departure then have it go on with bastardised versions of the characters we (used to) love.

      • 3 torbiecat
        14 May 2015 at 7:04 pm

        To be fair, these characters have well-bastardized for over fifteen years, but, yeah, I get it that you mean even more bastardized.

        • 4 Bleeding Gums Murphy
          15 May 2015 at 12:03 am

          My question is… why now?
          I mean… yeah, voicing those characters was always easy money, a stable job, etc… But if he started critizising the show back in Season 4, why would he stay for 22 more years (and the vast amount of those years being from the Zombie era) before finally leaving the show? Now when it has been irrelevant for more than a decade?

          That bugs me. I’m not saying Shearer doesn’t have honest motives (we still don’t know the full details and who know what’s in his mind), it’s just… Weird.

          • 5 Stan
            15 May 2015 at 1:05 am

            Ever heard of a thing called ‘age’?

          • 6 torbiecat
            15 May 2015 at 9:05 am

            Yeah, I don’t get it, either. I have to remind myself that we’re not seeing things from an inside perspective, so there’s a lot of information we’re missing.

      • 9 Victor Dang
        14 May 2015 at 10:28 pm

        I salute you for both agreeing with his wish and at the same time turning it up on its head.

  2. 10 torbiecat
    14 May 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Even though I’m a lesbian, I think I love you, Charlie.

    Anyway, I was going to say that you forgot to mention that these articles have been particularly hyperbolic by referring to Shearer *as* Mr. Burns, not the *voice* of Mr. Burns, and making Shearer seem like a greedy bastard because of that, too. But then again, you think more highly of us than the writers of Zombie Simpsons and realize that you don’t have to over-explain things.

  3. 14 May 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Very prudent analysis; better reporting than CNN evidently. Good job CS.

  4. 12 Stan
    14 May 2015 at 8:20 pm

    There are two types of journalists: sharks and ducks. The first type constantly attempts to pass biased opinion as “information” while the second one always takes this out to every possible source. Result? People knocking on Shearer’s door, asking: “Hey, how come you’re quitting? Nah man, you can’t quit, you’re one of the best voices of the show”.

    I’ve nothing against letting the old guy have his peace and quiet, at the age he is, especially that a) I gave up on ZS a long time ago, b) I’m not going to conditionally debate something someone else has already decided and c) my opinion isn’t valued anyway. However what journalists, sources, companies and especially Mr. Suck My Taint are doing to the whole story is atrocious. You’d just want to curl up and die. They are the very incarnation of selfish ‘Burnses’ most of those articles above refer to. In blood and flesh.

    One last streak of respect for Harry, though: he wasn’t doing it JUST for the money. Amen.

  5. 13 Brad M
    14 May 2015 at 9:47 pm

    IF he’s being offered $14 million for the next two seasons, he must already have substantially more than that from the previous 26! It’s completely understandable to me why money wouldn’t be the deciding factor in what Mr. Shearer wants to do with his life.

  6. 14 Cal
    14 May 2015 at 10:10 pm

    “I’m far more inclined to believe [Shearer] than some nameless insider who feeds bullshit like that to CNN Money.”

    Me too. I wouldn’t be surprised if that so-called insider is some TV exec trying to make Shearer look bad for daring to have integrity and pride.

    It’s been really disheartening to read the backlash against Shearer from people who agree with this site’s premise, like “I haven’t watched The Simpsons in 20 years because it’s awful, but this guy’s an idiot to walk away from so much money.” No amount of money can make you love a job you dislike. We know he’s already got lots of F-you money and plenty of options.

    (Totally agree with your CNN comment, too.)

    • 15 Anonymous
      15 May 2015 at 12:09 am

      I don’t find it disheartening. Like it or not, people are gonna have different opinions ’bout stuff. Just the way it goes.

      And so, too, might Shearer. It doesn’t really matter what other people think, it’s up to him now.

  7. 15 May 2015 at 12:50 am

    His voice, health and boredom plus other factors are why he will be retiring from the show.

  8. 20 Joe H
    15 May 2015 at 5:19 am

    It’s pretty obvious Shearer is bored stiff of the show. He was likely on the show the last decade because he needed the money. Now it’s pretty clear he doesn’t (or at least, not enough to put up with doing the show).

    And yeah, that figure is likely bogus. We have no idea how much the voice-actors are getting paid and it is most likely less that that considering how much Fox has been skimming the staff during the renewals of the past 5-6 years.

    • 21 Angelm Young
      15 May 2015 at 11:02 am

      The skimming thing might be why the show is still on. It can’t be the ratings since they’re abysmal or fans wanting the show to continue since most fans of Classic Simpsons have moved on to better shows or are content to watch the older episodes on DVD, online, or, Heaven forbid, VHS.

  9. 22 FireFlower
    15 May 2015 at 9:08 am

    This does not mean the show will end. They can always hire other voice actors for his characters.

    • 23 Dav
      15 May 2015 at 10:28 am

      True, which will confirm everything this noble site alleges about them. I love Shearer, but he’s kind of complicit in propping up this sham of a show for the last 15 years.

    • 24 Angelm Young
      15 May 2015 at 10:52 am

      Yeah, remember that line in Homer to the Max about how network TV likes cartoons because they don’t have to pay the actors well and they can be replaced. I wonder if Karl Weidergott (the guy who voiced Flanders for the sake of that joke) is going to be brought in as Shearer’s replacement.

  10. 25 new jersey's no. 1 prankster
    16 May 2015 at 12:04 am

    Shut up.

    • 26 new jersey's no. 1 prankster
      16 May 2015 at 12:05 am

      you’re just jealous that he even had the opportunity to make 14 million. what do you earn in a year, buddy?

      • 27 Joe H
        16 May 2015 at 1:03 pm

        Again, the figure is bogus. Shearer never once admitted how much he earns. Note that during the Howard Stern interview some years ago, Stern repeated the $400,000 and Shearer constantly corrected him on it that the true figure is confidential as per their agreement with Fox.


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