Simpsons voices in store for hefty salary raise for next three seasons.
April 30, 2001

Matt Groening reveals his plans for a new show with familiar faces.
April 11, 2001

A book on our favorite family and religion to be released this year.
February 20, 2001

Third Simpsons collectibles book due in February.
January 28, 2001

Nutritionists argue The Simpsons encourages childhood obesity.
January 28, 2001

Insurance company sacks 10 for swapping Simpsons porno online.
January 6, 2001

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Simpsons Actors Get Rich Kwik
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - April 30, 2001
     The six principle voice actors behind The Simpsons are in for a raise that's set to bring their combined income to roughly 32 million dollars over the next two seasons.
     According to a Variety report, Dan Castellaneta, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner and Nancy Cartwright are now closing deals for $100,000 per episode salaries during the series' 13th and 14th seasons. The deal also includes a project development agreement with Fox for Dan Castellaneta, who has co-written at least one Simpsons episode thus far with wife Deb Lacusta.
     Additionally, the syndication bonus of $1,000,000 each, originally promised to the actors in 2005 as part of their season 10-12 contracts, will instead be paid now according to the new contract terms. The cast has also been guaranteed a $125,000 per episode salary should they elect to stay with the show for its 15th season, adding another 16 million to their combined earnings. (Combined figures are derived from a 22 episode per season average.)
     Negotiations for this contract term reportedly were less caustic than the former one's, during which the actors threatened to leave the series if Fox failed to meet a $150,000 per episode salary stipulation. The studio responded with rather unsuccessful casting calls to replace their roles. Said Harry Shearer of the incident, “A large number of working voiceover actors declined Fox's invitation to replace us.”
     Originally paid $25,000 per episode, the cast ultimately agreed to $50,000 per episode starting with season 10, on the condition that the figure was raised by $10,000 each year until the next contract term.
     Source: Variety (courtesy Jonah Flynn)

A Simpsons Spin-Off?
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - April 11, 2001
     The Simpsons' creator Matt Groening revealed in an interview that he is planning a Simpsons spin-off, featuring the yellow family and “everybody” from the current show. However, the stories “would revolve around the other characters” already present in the series.
     This is not the first idea for a spin-off Groening has developed. In 1994, he was working on a live-action show, centered around Springfield's Krusty the Clown (starring Dan Castellaneta). Groening even had a pilot script ready, but the negotiations with the network got stalled and eventually failed. Groening shelved the project and moved on to developing “Futurama.”
     Time will tell whether this new spin-off will ever take off and become reality. Either way, ongoing discussions on additional two or three seasons of The Simpsons suggest that our favorite family is not likely to disappear from prime time in the near future.
     Source: The Knoxville News-Sentinel (courtesy Jukka Keskiaho)

The Gospel According to the Simpsons
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - February 20, 2001
     In the summer of 1999, Florida journalist Mark Pinsky faced a dilemma familar to many suburban, middle aged, middle class parents. His children, aged 8 and 11, wanted to watch nightly re-runs of The Simpsons on their Orlando Fox affiliate. All Pinsky, then 51, knew about the series was the reputation for negative and anti-authoritarian messages that created such a furor during the show's first two regular seasons, when bad boy Bart was the narrative center of The Simpsons.
     Struggling to remain open-minded, Pinsky offered to watch the show with his son and daughter. The father was pleasantly surprised by the moral messages embedded in the show, and the fact that most of the sexual innuendo went over their heads. But Pinsky, a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times now covering religion for the Orlando Sentinel, saw something else: a vigorous and largely favorable presentation of God, faith and spirituality, which he found counter-intutitive to everything the thought about The Simpsons. As he watched the episodes with his children -- sometimes 11 shows a week -- he reached for his reporter's note pad and began furiously scribbling notes.
     In August of 1999, a Sunday essay appeared in the Sentinel, entitled “The Gospel According to Homer,” which was widely reprinted around the United States. Letters and e-mails came in, offering support for his thesis and suggesting other evidence. He discovered The Simpsons Archive and their “invaluable” episode capsules, and decided to develop a proposal for a short book, along the lines of Robert Short's classic, “The Gospel According to Peanuts,” based on the comic strip. That book, Pinsky learned, had never been out of print since is was published in the mid-1960s, and had sold 10 million copies.
     It took nearly a year to find a publisher, but in the end, it was Westminster John Knox, an arm of the Presbyterian Church, that offered a contract. Ironically, this was the same house that published the Peanuts book.
     Pinsky said that, in the course of researching the book, the fans at The Simpsons Archive were of great help, that the book could not have been written without them.
     “I bombarded Jouni, Jordan, and others members with hundreds of e-mails, begging them for help in locating obscure quotes and sequences, and they never let me down,” Pinsky said in an interview. They also agreed to read part or all of the manuscript for errors. “I'm sure I will get some things wrong,” Pinsky said, “but I didn't want to offend Simpsons' fans with too many careless errors.”
     “The Gospel According to the Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of World's Most Animated Family” is scheduled to be released in November this year. To get a taste of what's coming, acquaint yourself with Mark Pinsky's articles [1] [2] [3] [4], also available in our Miscellaneous section.
     Update (04/25) is taking advance orders for the book.
     Update (05/11) The new release date for the book is September 1, 2001.

Further Adventures In Collectibles
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - January 28, 2001
     "Further Adventures In The Simpsons Collectibles," a sequel to 1998's, “The Unauthorized Guide To The Simpsons Collectibles” by Robert W. Getz, is about to hit store shelves. The book contains new material, picking up where the previous volume left off, while simultaneously filling some of the gaps.
     The guide features over 460 new full-color photographs, covering Simpsons collectibles from dolls, figurines, and glasses to games, comics, promos, and beyond. Information on merchandise that never saw the light of day-- such as Grampa and Otto dolls--is also offered as a special treat for collectors. Prices for every item also included.
     “Further Adventures In The Simpsons Collectibles” is the third to be released to the Simpsons collector niche, following Robert W. Getz's first book, and William D. LaRue's 1999 book, "Collecting Simpsons."
     Advanced orders for the book are now being accepted by and other major bookstores. Additionally, signed copies will be available through the author's website.

Brush Your Teeth with Milkshakes!
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - January 28, 2001
     Nutritionists claim that the poor eating habits of television characters in popular programs such as The Simpsons have encouraged children to become fat.
     According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietic Association, 63 episodes of The Simpsons were viewed by researches, who determined that only 20 percent of health-related messages were "positive," or recommendable by health professionals. The most commonly mentioned foods on the show, the researchers said, were beer, fatty snacks and sweets.
     Our favorite family was also criticized for mindless snacking, high-alcohol consumption, the use of food as a bribe or reward and equating weight loss with starvation.
     Australia's Federal Department of Health and Aged Care rushed to dismiss the show's negative influence on children's diets. "Most children see Homer Simpson as a joke character, a slob," said department spokeswoman Kay McNiece. "He eats badly, but his behaviour is not seen as something to aspire to."
     Peter Clifton, director of clinical research at CSIRO Health Science and Nutrition, considers "the relentless ads for pizzas and other unhealthy foods" far more hazardous than the television programs themselves. A recent research study by scientists at the University of Newcastle, England, supports Clifton's views, confirming the influence of television advertising upon children.
     Source: The Australian (courtesy Pete Escott)

Bart Drops Pants: Firm Drops Axe
By Jouni Paakkinen ( - January 6, 2001
     Ten employees of the London-based insurance firm Royal & Sun Alliance have been fired for sharing pornographic Simpsons pictures using company e-mail facilities.
     According to The Register, the lewd pictures, which depict characters such as Marge, Ned Flanders, Bart, and Lisa engaged in sexual activity, were distributed internally among colleagues via perpetual message forwarding. 41 staffers received suspensions in mid-December following the material's detection by management -- a total which has since risen to 77.
     In addition to the explicit Simpsons material, obscene pictures of Kermit the Frog and Fozzy Bear were also reportedly included among the circulated materials.
     The incident marks the latest in a growing (and typically caviling) trend of employee termination and disciplinary action for violations of network usage policies in the corporate environment.

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