HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 18: Tracey Ullman arrives at the Premiere Of Disney And Pixar's "Onward" on February 18, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Movies - TV
Tracey Ullman's Dislike Of The Simpsons Nearly Led It To An Early Grave
From the start of "The Tracey Ullman Show," no one involved seemed to realize the potential of Matt Groening's "The Simpsons" — including Ullman herself, who didn’t like any of the animated bumpers as they didn’t “match her show's quality.” In addition, Fox Entertainment's president even considered canceling all of the animated bumpers due to the high production cost of $15,000 per week.
Yet as a result of their popularity in Season 1 and despite Ullman's particular disdain for "The Simpsons,” they appeared in every episode until Season 4. That’s when Fox promoted "The Simpsons" to their own half-hour time slot in 1989 — Ullman famously joked about their success at the 1990 Emmy awards, saying, "I breastfed those little devils."
Ullman later felt like she was owed a cut and in 1992, sued 20th Century Fox on the basis that her contract should have granted her 5% -10% of “The Simpsons” profits, which would be $2.25 million at that time. However, the characters in the shorts were sufficiently different from those in the new show that, after less than five hours of deliberation, the Supreme Court rejected her claim.