That happiness was short-lived for most when it was revealed that talks between 20th Century Fox TV and the show’s main voice actors had broken down. The studio decided to play hard ball, started casting for soundalikes, and even uninvited the voice actors from the Futurama panel at the San Diego Comic-Con.
Many viewers protested and threatened to boycott the new episodes. Thankfully, the dispute is now over and there’s a new deal in place for John DiMaggio, Billy West, Katey Sagal, Maurice LaMarche, and Tress MacNeille.
At the Comic-Con panel, Futurama creators Matt Groening and David X. Cohen told fans that they supported the actors and hoped that the dispute would be settled soon. On Friday, the duo issued a humorous statement that said, “We are thrilled to have our incredible cast back. The call has already gone out to the animators to put the mouths back on the characters.”
The details of the new voice deal between the actors and the studio are being kept under wraps but its believed that both sides made compromises. According to Variety, the actors were initially asking for $75,000 per episode (a figure disputed by castmate Phil LaMarr) and then reduced it to $40,000. The studio was reportedly offering much less.
At this point, the new episodes of Futurama are still slated to appear on Comedy Central exclusively. There’s still time for a deal with a major network however since the animation won’t be ready for the small screen for about a year. The standoff didn’t have any effect on the show’s production schedule.
Image courtesy 20th Century Fox TV.