Bosses at America's Fox network have confirmed the future of The Simpsons is in doubt because the animated hit is too expensive to produce.
Following speculation the longrunning cartoon series would be axed next year (12), a spokesperson for the channel has spoken out about their issues negotiating a cut in the cast's huge pay cheques.
In the statement, the rep says, "We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come."
According to reports, the cast, including Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith, each receive around $400,000 (£259,000)-per-episode, which bosses at Fox want to reduce by 45 per cent.
There is a long history of disputes between Fox and the show's voice actors over payment, with negotiations delaying production by several months in 1998, 2004 and 2008 after talks stalled.