Page last updated at 16:41 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 17:41 UK

Simpsons cast sign new pay deal

A scene from The Simpsons movie
The Simpsons have also enjoyed big screen success

The cast of The Simpsons have signed a four-year deal that guarantees a 20th season of the popular TV show, according to trade paper Variety.

Production was delayed for several months while the voice actors and 20th Century Fox TV discussed an agreement.

Variety said the salaries of the stars - including Dan Castellaneta (Homer) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart) - would rise to $400,000 (200,000) an episode.

The Simpsons is the US' longest-running prime-time entertainment series.

Because of the delay, 20 episodes of the new series will be made instead of the usual 22, Variety said.

Contract row

It is not the first time production on The Simpsons has been delayed for salary negotiations.

In 2004, production was halted for a month after a pay dispute over contracts led the stars to stop work.

Each cast member was seeking about $360,000 per episode, Variety reported at the time. The actors were previously earning $125,000 (70,000) a show.

In the past, the cast have argued that their wages are relatively low given the huge popularity and success of The Simpsons.

As part of the latest deal, Castellaneta has been named consulting producer on the series. He will serve as a writer in addition to his role as a voice performer.

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