We all remember Max Bialystock’s (arguably) brilliant plan in “The Producers.” If done correctly, a massive Broadway flop can be worth more than a hit. In light of recent news that “The Simpsons” may be cancelled if its cast does not take a significant pay cut, the old Bialystock model bears examination.
No one is accusing Fox of trying to make a quick buck; in fact, Fox is “hopeful that [they] can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows ‘The Simpsons’ to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come.” However, an interesting analysis by Deadline Hollywood points out that “The Simpsons” cash cow may net Fox more if it gets the axe, thus freeing it for new syndication rights.
You’ve seen the endless “Simpsons” re-runs on Fox and Fox affiliates. And you’ve watched them — that’s why they’re worth so much. But the show is currently tied to a syndication deal that is exclusive to local TV, which is why “The Simpsons” never airs on cable or non-Fox channels. Now that cable is challenging network TV, Deadline believes 20th Century Fox could net $750 million with a new syndication deal; this includes online re-runs and even an exclusive Simpsons cable channel.
With a library of 506 episodes, there’s certainly plenty of content. But we imagine that Fox would be keen to bank even more. Still, keep an eye out for SIMP, coming to a satellite near you. We’re working on the name.