Homer, Marge, Lisa, and Bart no longer need to fear becoming as mute as Maggie. ''The Simpsons'' voice actors are set to return to work this week after agreeing to a new contract that will end their month-long work stoppage, according to the Associated Press. The actors, including Dan Castellaneta (Homer) and Nancy Cartwright (Bart), will now be paid around $250,000 an episode -- nearly twice their previous rate, Variety reported. But they had asked for $360,000 an episode and a share of the show's profits, neither of which they obtained, according to the trade paper.
''We couldn't be happier to have reached a multiyear deal with the enormously talented cast of 'The Simpsons,''' a spokesperson for show producer 20th Fox Television said in a statement. Although the month-long delay had fueled fears of a shortened '04-'05 season, show producers are now confident that they can release the usual 22 episodes, according to AP. The other actors involved in the suit were Hank Azaria (Moe, Apu, Comic Book Guy), Julie Kavner (Marge), Yeardley Smith (Lisa), and Harry Shearer (Mr. Burns, Flanders, Principal Skinner).