When “Futurama” returns to TV next year, it might be without the show’s original voice cast, according to Variety.
Talks have broken down between 20th Century Fox TV and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, Maurice LaMarche and Tress MacNeille over how much they should be paid to take part in the show.
The studio announced last month that it would produce 26 new episodes of “Futurama,” and that Comedy Central was on board to begin airing the new episodes in mid-2010. As part of the announcement, the show’s producers said stars including West, Sagal and DiMaggio had all signed on to return.
Turns out, it was all a lie… or at least prematurely stated.
Variety reports that while the stars all expressed interest in returning, the budge for “Futurama” had been cut and the salary offers came in well below the actors asking price.
As a result, 20th has put out a casting call finding replacement for the voice actors show.
20th Century Fox TV issued the statement saying, “We love the ‘Futurama’ voice performers and absolutely wanted to use them, but unfortunately, we could not meet their salary demands.”
“While replacing these talented actors will be difficult, the show must go on. We are confident that we will find terrific new performers to give voice to Matt and David’s brilliantly subversive characters.”
Perhaps there is some comfort knowing that this is not the first time 20th has gone this route. The studio originally had done the same for “The Simpsons” before hammering out a deal with the original cast.
The “Futurama” cast members is believed to be asking for around $75,000 per episode; it is not clear what 20th was offering.
Created by Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, “Futurama” originally aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003. The success of the show’s repeats on DVD and cable, as well as a series of first-run DVD releases, led to the decision to revive “Futurama.”