On Friday, word leaked out that 20th Century Fox (the studio behind FUTURAMA) had sent out a casting notice to replace original series voice talents John DiMaggio, Phil LaMarr, Maurice La Marche, Billy West and Katey Sagal with more affordable actors after talks broke down over money. According to Variety, “The stars had all expressed interest in returning. But with the budget for FUTURAMA dramatically slashed, the salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking — believed to be around $75,000 per episode.” In other-words, assuming the parties fail to come to their senses, “Bite my shiny metal ass” may never sound the same again. What’s worse, this usually opinionated TV Addict finds himself conflicted as to whose side he should be on.
On the surface, 20th Century Fox sure comes across as the Mr. Burns of this story — the easy target if you will — the greedy, soulless, corporate mega-behemoth-conglomerate that will undoubtedly bear the brunt of the fandom’s anger. Unless that is, one takes into account that FUTURAMA never really was the cash cow that its yellow-skinned brethren were. And that Fry, Bender, Leela et al, while popular enough to attract enough of a cult following to warrant the continuation of the series on DVD, will only work on Comedy Central if it makes complete dollars and
Which brings us to the talented original voice actors and their rumored exorbitant salary demands. Putting aside the obvious that we’re not sure we could ever enjoy FUTURAMA without them (Who doesn’t remember the debauchery that were the Aladdin sequel sans Robin Williams or those really weird episodes of TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES were Donatello’s voice wasn’t quite right) this TV Addict is finding it really hard to sympathize with actors who are turning down tens of thousands of dollars for a few hours of *work* a week.