Two Murdoch-Related Links

Harry Shearer offers a statement about the Simpsons contract negotiations, confirming that the cast offered to take a pay cut in exchange for profit participation, and the studio is insisting on a larger pay cut and no profit participation. Where this will wind up, I don’t know, though it’s increasingly looking like The Simpsons is closer to the end than we ever might have thought possible, even if a deal is finally struck. The striking thing with this and Law & Order is that it happened so suddenly: shows we never thought would end are faced with the very possibility of ending, almost without warning. It could be that the days when a long-running hit would quietly decide to end, with a lot of fanfare and a huge finale, were an aberration. The ending of Fox’s other long-running comedy franchise, Married: With Children – it ran forever, and then the plug was pulled without warning – may be the future.
Update: Well, so much for that. The Simpsons will have another two years, so while it may yet end abruptly, it won’t be this time.

– Bill Brioux looks at the question of why Murdoch Mysteries is being canceled, and offers several theories. I don’t have any information about this particular case. I will say that in general, the situation with Canadian scripted shows reminds me of the way things were on U.S. cable channels before original scripted content really took off: shows would seem reasonably successful and still disappear, or they would be yanked after a certain number of episodes to make room for new ones within the overall budget allotted for original programming. The Disney Channel used to have a policy of ending most shows once they reached 65 episodes and then picking up something else to replace it; it was a cyclical model. It was only recently that the network ended the rule and started making as many episodes of Phineas and Ferb as they could.

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