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Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 17:33 GMT 18:33 UK
The Simpsons keep 3m voices
The Simpsons
The Simpsons: Celebrated 10th anniversary last year
The real-life stars of the Simpsons cartoons - those who do the voice-overs for the main characters - are to sign new contracts worth $4.4m (3m) to record two more series, it has been reported.

They will get $100,000 (70,000) per episode - up from the $70,000 (50,000) they currently receive, according to Variety magazine.

The contract will see them record a 13th and 14th series, with an option to do a 15th for $125,000 per show.

Nancy Cartwright
Nancy Cartwright: The voice behind Bart Simpson
Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner and Nancy Cartwright - who do the characters' voices - will also get a $1m bonus.

The negotiations are said to have been more amicable than those in 1998, when stars voiced their displeasure at their fee for working on one of the world's most popular shows.

At the time, they were getting $25,000 each per episode and threatened to resign unless the fee was increased.

After a few weeks of negotiations, salaries were doubled to $50,000 an episode for the 10th series, $60,000 for series 11 and $70,000 for series 12.

Appeal

Castellaneta, who does the voice of Homer Simpson, will also get a production and development deal with the network as he has already co-written several episodes of the show.

Started in 1990, The Simpsons is currently the US Fox network's top comedy and has reportedly earned almost $1bn (700m) for Rupert Murdoch's Fox Group.

It features a hapless, hopeless, dysfunctional - not to mention yellow - family in small-town America whose surreal-but-accessible lives that went slightly wrong appeal to viewers of all ages.

Its popularity spread across the globe after humble beginnings as a 15-minute filler on the Tracey Ullman Show in America.

See also:

23 Mar 01 | Reviews
The Simpsons go Wrestling
22 Jun 00 | Entertainment
Homer and Bart head for Britain
13 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Wahooo! Simpsons celebrate 10 years
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