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Futurama Voices Could Be Recast

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the bite-my-shiny-metal-*** dept.

Television 260

Svippy writes "According to reports surfacing on the Internet, Futurama may be recast. The animated series is due to return next year on Comedy Central, but may not be the same as we once knew it. 'As part of the announcement, the show's producers said stars including West, Sagal and DiMaggio had all signed on to return. Turns out that wasn't true. The stars had all expressed interest in returning. But with the budget for Futurama dramatically slashed, the salary offers came in well below what the thesps were asking.' Phil LaMarr posted 20th Century Fox's request for auditions on his Facebook page. However, some are skeptical about whether it's a real casting call or purely a stunt to reduce the salaries of the voice actors."

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260 comments

ob (5, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736807)

Bite my shiny metal ass!

Hey Soulskill! Read this, you douche bag. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28736871)

Why do you morons keep posting "news" about Futurama? Why not post something about, let's say, Adult Swim or Sarah Jessica Parker for that matter? Why such a gay, sucky show??

MODERATORS!!! DIAL 911 NOW! I AM A TERRORIST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737001)

mod parent up

Re:MODERATORS!!! DIAL 911 NOW! I AM A TERRORIST (1, Offtopic)

HideyoshiJP (1392619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737655)

Congrats. Your IP has now been logged. I would laugh if something came of this.

Re:ob (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737045)

I think the phrase: "Bite my glorious golden ass" is too far underused and would be more appropriate here.

Re:ob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737279)

It's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake [youtube.com]

Re:ob (4, Informative)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737325)

I love how the 'goodnewseveryone' tag is being negated - and replaced by 'badnewseveryone' - by people who obviously don't understand that the phrase is supposed to be ironic and prescient of bad news.

Hand your nerd cards in at the door, please. You know who you are.

Re:ob (2, Insightful)

AdmiralXyz (1378985) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737659)

Farnsworth was known to say "Bad news, everyone" on occasion- like when the supercollider superexploded. Perhaps it is you who must hand over your card, hmm?

Idea (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736809)

How effective would it be if thousands of fans submitted MP3 via email stating, "Leave the cast alone!" in varying degrees of passion and vernacular?

Re:Idea (5, Informative)

FiveDozenWhales (1360717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736879)

Not very? If you want the cast to stay on, either the cast needs to be appealed to, or the source of the money (Comedy Central) does. Not the production crew.

Re:Idea (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737015)

"How effective would it be if thousands of fans submitted MP3 via email stating, "Leave the cast alone!" in varying degrees of passion and vernacular?"
Farnsworth: "Well, we won't know that until they actually do it". :)

Re:Idea (1)

risk one (1013529) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737023)

Very effective! They could probably cut the voicework for three really low-budget episodes out of that.

Re:Idea (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737073)

Might be effective in getting the producers to dump the show again. Despite the fan base among geeks, it's obviously marginally profitable at best for them, hence the fact that it was already canceled once and the "dramatically slashed" budget this time.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737157)

That's because had benders big score and subsequent movies been shown on Adult Swim instead of Crapedy Central they would have received better ratings, instead of suffering from a network swap that left people confused and a lot of hardcore adult swim fans bitter. Futurama on Adult Swim was genuinely trying to remind us of the social commentary that it had already made, Futurama on Comedy Central is just trying to remind us that Comedy Central likes money and will milk something it thinks can turn it over. I'm amazed they gave it 26 shows at a slashed budget. Wouldn't it have made more sense to cast 13 shows, pay the real actors, and see if it retains interest? If it wasn't 'that profitable' before, then the fanbase they are alienating with a recast will ensure it's doom. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED

Re:Idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737635)

Brief chronology of events:

*Matt Groening comes up with Futurama. After a series of battle that he describes as "by far the worst experience of my grown-up life," Fox runs it for a while.

*Fox cancels it.

*Adult Swim picks up reruns at low cost, following the same formula they did with Family Guy. They don't fund anything new.

*Comedy Central helps produce four new movies, and airs them.

*The movies do well enough that they decide to pick it up for another season. However, this season is on a basic cable budget, rather than a network or movie one.

There was no "swap."

Re:Idea (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737323)

I hate fox as much as the next guy *shed's a tear for firefly*, but isn't it possible that the voice actors are asking for too much, at the end of the day its the writers that make the show great (well the animators add little details in the background too) and while the voices are important, they may be letting it go to their heads. TBH i don't know, you don't know, all we know is fox don't want to pay the voice actors what they want!

Other articles worthy of reading (5, Informative)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736811)

Re:Other articles worthy of reading (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736959)

What I'm finding confusing is that when Futurama first appeared, certain corners of the net made a big deal about how unlike The Simpsons, Groening actually wholly owned Futurama.

Which makes me wonder why Fox are involved at all when it's on a different network.

Or perhaps TVLand is just a lot more complicated than I realise.

Re:Other articles worthy of reading (1)

zygotic mitosis (833691) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737463)

Fox studios and Fox network are separate entities and have seperate powers as the Bender's Big Score commentary mentions

Re:Other articles worthy of reading (1)

palndrumm (416336) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737117)

Another comment on the situation that's well worth reading:

http://www.newsfromme.com/archives/2009_07_17.html#017446 [newsfromme.com]

Most likely it's just Fox making some noise to try to get the cast to sign on without having to pay them more money than absolutely necessary, and if they were at all serious about replacing anyone they'd be doing it very quietly behind the scenes instead of making public announcements.

Not necessarily that bad (1)

Fleeced (585092) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737321)

In theory, it wouldn't really bother me as long as the characters sounded the same - that's one of the benefits of cartoons - that the "actors" never age on screen, so you can repeatedly recast the voices and keep the show going for decades... but in reality, the voice actors have grown into the role and provide numerous nuances that make up part of who the characters are. Replacing them all at once would certainly be noticeable, IMO.

People need to settle down though. Pretending that they're never going to watch if one one the voice actors is replaced doesn't fool anyone - you will still watch (at least at first), and you know it. Yes, I'm worried - but the voice actors aren't the whole show. Painting the producers as the big greedy corporates playing hardball is a bit one-side - the voice actors are playing the same game, which is as it should be... I suspect they will come to some agreement in the end.

Comentary (2, Informative)

Usually Unlucky (1598523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736815)

During the commentary's for the both the movies and the season DVDs all the voice actors always said that it was their favorite show to work on. It was hard to tell if this was simply pandering but they sounded genuinely sincere. Especially Billy West and John DiMaggio who seemed to be to big fans of the show. And I don't think Katty Segal is being flooded with job offers. The only ones I see moving on are the greatly talented Maurice Lamarche and Tres McNeil who do a lot of work other than Futurama and only play secondary characters on the show. Read More... 3 comments top tags

Re:Comentary (5, Informative)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736845)

Not to mention that Billy West - especially - and John DiMaggio have mentioned in numerous interviews how much they care for that show. Billy West once stated it was "the best gig he ever had [tv.com]".

Would they really risk the entire show for some money, when they care so much for it? Of course not. I am personally beginning to suspect this is not a trade negotiation issue, but a publicity stunt to get Futurama on everyone's lips again.

It also puts a lot more real to Comic-Con 2009's Futurama description [comic-con.org]:

1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!" Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20

Re:Comentary (4, Insightful)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737211)

Would they really risk the entire show for some money, when they care so much for it?

I've had some jobs I really enjoyed. The products were good, the people were great, and I loved my time there. If they called me right now and offered me less money than they used to pay me, I wouldn't go back.

Re:Comentary (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737301)

Risk the entire show for some money?

If you are talking about the voice actors: What if what they would get would be a total ripoff. Where do you draw the line? At 1 cent per gig?
If you are talking about the TV network: You know that the only reason of existence for those companies is money, do you? Everything else is completely irrelevant to them. Half the world could die, and they would still try to make as much money out of it as possible.

Re:Comentary (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737615)

AFAICT, the studio isn't offering them less than they made, just not as much as they're asking for. Let's say your happy job paid you $60K per year when they had to let you go for financial reasons. They call you after a few years and ask you to come back. You say, "Sure, but I want $300K per year." They'd rightly turn you down on that number, but may well come back and offer you $100K or more if they really felt they needed you and you provided that much value. Would you take it? Depends on your circumstances and how much you wanted back into the role. But it's still more than you were making at the time.

Re:Comentary (4, Informative)

ShinmaWa (449201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737309)

With very rare exception, television shows are renewed in public and cancelled in private. Since this is a VERY public thing at Comic-Con, the conclusion is foregone. If the cast were fired live on stage, agents would be filing lawsuits on behalf of their humiliated clients within seconds and the executive would be lynched in the hallway. The audience, who would obviously be ticked off, would resent FOX. Why send an executive on a PR mission to intentionally piss off your viewers and draw the ire of the SAG?

So, here's the result: Everyone makes nice, and the show is renewed with the original cast. There might even be a movie deal to up the ante. If there was any doubt about this, there would be no Comic-Con thing at all.

Nothing to see here. Publicity Stunt. Move along.

Re:Comentary (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737653)

The problem I've seen is taking a pay cut for the team usually doesn't extend to everyone. Look at what just happened with the pay cuts at the New York Times! The CEO walks away with a bonus for saving money slashing your salary.

katey segal doing just fine. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737715)

She's in "Son's of Anarchy", plus she's married to a producer, and the MWC royalties come in. Trust me, she isn't hurting for spending money or worrying if she'll miss the next slashdot dupe because the IP bill is overdue.

Not watching without original cast. (3, Insightful)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736823)

I absolutely will NOT watch it without the original cast. I can't imagine anyone other than Billy West voicing Fry.

Re:Not watching without original cast. (0, Offtopic)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736869)

Watch some anime; you'll get used to it.

Re:Not watching without original cast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737693)

Gotta admit, you make a very compelling case to NOT watch anime...

Re:Not watching without original cast. (2, Insightful)

FiveDozenWhales (1360717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736889)

Or Zoidburg, or Farnsworth... But yeah, Fry's voice is classic Billy West, and unimitable.

Re:Not watching without original cast. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737063)

Or Bender.

Why not just make them sound the same? (3, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736825)

You know, when a new voice appears on an old show playing an existing character (memory escapes me at this moment for an example, but I know this has happened), I always wonder why folks generally don't just make the new voice sound like the old voice. This happened to at least a couple childhood cartoons of mine - the voice suddenly changed and ... WTF?

Let's hope they decide to bring in folks that sound the same (or very similar) if they do recast. Having different voices would be pretty lame.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (0, Flamebait)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736973)

Personally I can't wait until they perfect synthetic voices, then there will be no need for overpaid voice actors at all.

Many voice actors for the most part are total dicks.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737165)

Many voice actors for the most part are total dicks.

What facts do you base that broad generalization on?

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737229)

Well, let's see, there's this case, where the actors are demanding 10 times the usual pay.

And there's the time when the Simpsons actors pulled the same stunt.

Oh, and there's also all the whining voice actors do about when movies use real actors in their movies rather than making do with people whose only skill is having a strange voice. There's a reason they're voice actors and not actors.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737451)

Oh, and there's also all the whining voice actors do about when movies use real actors in their movies rather than making do with people whose only skill is having a strange voice. There's a reason they're voice actors and not actors.

One strange voice? Billy West voices Fry, Farnsworth, Zapp, and Zoidberg. Just as the character of "Le Chevalier Raphael Danceny" is materially different from that of "Ted Logan" and "Neo", the voice that West uses for "Elmer Fudd" is different than the one he uses for "Stimpson 'Stimpy' J. Cat".

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (1)

numbski (515011) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737437)

On a just barely tangentially related note -

It is an absolute crime that no one worked to perfect a synthesized version of Majelle Barrett-Roddenberry's voice prior to her demise. Should should have been the voice of all computers henceforth. :(

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737531)

Synthetic voices won't be perfected until AI is perfected ... if it can't understand what's going on the amount of manual markup needed to describe the speech would take a huge amount of time and effort. What I do foresee happening though is voice morphing becoming big in voice acting, that way only the timing is important ... it will make transitioning between voice actors easier and make it easier for less talented voice actors to vary their voice.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (1)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737647)

How do you figure this? That's like saying photorealistic CGI won't be possible until AI is perfected. It's just nonsensical.

Convincing synthetic voices will require physical modeling of the lungs, vocal cords, larynx, throat, mouth, lips, tongue, and nasal passages. Intonation and speech patterns will be imparted by human sound artists.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (2, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736983)

Funny timing for this as I've introduced my kids to The Real Ghostbusters, a show where both Venkman and Janine's voices changed.

Venkman sounds like someone doing a very bad immitation of Lorenzo Music (which of course they are) whereas Janine's voice (the lovely Kath Soucie) is actually MUCH better as it's not as squeaky in the "channeling Annie Potts" way the former one was.

Re:Why not just make them sound the same? (1)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737021)

Thank the discworld gawds I can read binary and didn't need to google 'binary conversion' to realize I was a geek. Normally I don't understand such simple things if people don't spell it our for me.

Bad news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28736827)

I just felt a great disturbance in the force...

voices (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736841)

In just about every anime, cartoon series, and live-action where they've tried to swap one actor's voice for another, the series usually tanks not long after the switch is made. The only thing worse for a series is to get someone pregnant, involve a baby, or suddenly tack on a female lead or support role when one previously wasn't present. Or a consult with Joss Whedon.

Re:voices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737541)

In just about every anime, cartoon series, and live-action where they've tried to swap one actor's voice for another,

Is there a large sample size of live-action TV shows where a ways in to the series, they tried swapping in one actor's voice for another? (I don't count singing.)

Anyway, I have the solution to this problem: They should hire the guy that did the voices for Ren & Stimpy. He's really talented and has a great imagination. What's his name? Oh yeah, John Kricfalusi. (Billy West is a fine voice actor, but my god did R&S suck ass when he took over the voices.) It'd be interesting to see what would happen to the show, and what the real life poetic ramifications would be, though I know John K would demand a part in the creative aspects of it and that probably stops it before it starts.

Re:voices (1)

VocationalZero (1306233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737597)

I was completely with you until

Or a consult with Joss Whedon.

Then I looked at your name, and suddenly it all became clear. Hahah! Ironic because by the same logic my opinion is also moot! Wait, but by saying that... Uh...
Anyway, although it does seem that his involvement, while not lowering quality imho, does seem to doom some shows. Why is that?

Good news everybody! (5, Insightful)

dancingmad (128588) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736849)

Wait, this isn't good news at all.

Seriously, the voice actors in Futurama gave their characters heart and soul. It's not just that the actors are good (they are, of course) but the characters have grown along with the actors, such that in my mind, and in the mind of many fans I am sure, the two are inseparable.

Without the original cast, I won't be watching, simple as that.
It's going to cost more money in the long run to produce an abject failure than to put more money into the show from the start and hoping the fanbase comes back.

Re:Good news everybody! (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737055)

Without the original cast, I won't be watching, simple as that.

That's what we said about Star Trek. And yet, we keep going...

Re:Good news everybody! (3, Interesting)

carlzum (832868) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737527)

The difference is they're recasting the characters, not creating a new story line with new characters. Actually, I'd prefer if they did the later. Like Star Trek, Futurama's premise could work if told from a different perspective. Imagine the original Star Trek was recast rather than creating the Next Generation? Futurama's intelligent approach to parody is what makes it great. I'd miss Bender and Fry, but not enough to suffer through other actors mimicking their voices.

It could even breath some life into the series, the last two DVD releases felt like the current story-lines were running out of gas (Leela-Fry relationship, Nibbler's true identity, etc). Bender's Game really seemed like the writers out of ideas.

Re:Good news everybody! (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737107)

Actually, I thought the the last 4 DVDs was a steady descent from it's glorious 4 seasons on the tube. I doubt any of the original flare will be restored from further meddling.

RIP Planet Express.

Re:Good news everybody! (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737265)

Agreed. When I watch my old Futurama DVDs, I more often than not watch with the commentary track turned on. I swear I do have actual friends in real life, but those guys are kind of like the friends I never had. There's no way in hell I'd bother watching if they're not involved.

For that matter, I thought the Transformers movie sucked because they didn't let Frank Welker provide Megatron's voice. I mean, seriously, I can get Megan Fox pics on the Tubes - I don't need a crappy movie for that.

Re:Good news everybody! (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737723)

Yeah, one of the reasons I like Futurama is that it has a cast of characters that are really likable, that the actors have invested a lot of time into making special.

And Zoidberg.

if someone knows the amount (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736853)

if someone knows the amount send me a message! i can probably pull some strings somewhere, i hope it isn't in the millions because that many strings i don't have :)

Re:if someone knows the amount (3, Interesting)

Svippy (876087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736893)

20th Century Fox Television claims the voice actors wanted 75,000 dollars per episode. Which is apparently close to ten times as much as usual.

This seems extremely unlikely by these people, who love and worship the show, that they would risk its stability for their own greed.

My assumption is that 20th Century Fox Television is either making stuff up or playing some gag.

Re:if someone knows the amount (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737281)

My assumption is that 20th Century Fox Television is either making stuff up

I watch fox news you insensitive clod!

Re:if someone knows the amount (4, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737409)

20th Century Fox Television claims the voice actors wanted 75,000 dollars per episode. Which is apparently close to ten times as much as usual.

According to whom? The Simpsons actors reportedly earn $400,000 per episode. [telegraph.co.uk] Sure, $75,000 might be ten times what a voice actor earns for an episode of an afternoon kids' cartoon, but we're talking about a prime time show.

Re:if someone knows the amount (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737427)

10x as much as usual? 75k is nothing. The voice actors for The Simpsons get $1,000,000 per episode.

Obviously... (5, Funny)

VinylRecords (1292374) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736919)

Obviously the executives didn't take the Torgo's Executive Powder jokes all that well...

Re:Obviously... (1)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737029)

Obviously they're a bunch of squares. A few pizza box length lines worth of 'Human Horn' and they'll be alright.

Of course, if Human Horn isn't readily available a half ounce of Coke will do the trick too.

Good news everyone! (5, Funny)

sootman (158191) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736971)

I've invented a device which makes you read this in your head, in my voice! [geekstir.com]

Which is a good thing because you won't actually be hearing my voice while you watch the show! Better turn subtitles on, mwa?

Re:Good news everyone! (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737077)

Wow, I've read it, and it works! Why not just make the show mute with subtitles and imagine the voices? Can't beat this with any recast, I guess.

Speech-to-text (2, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737017)

They have what, 100+ hours of speech recorded for Futurama, presumably the original masters as well? Probably 1,000 hours of speech for each character on The Simpsons on masters. Not to mention accurate closed captioning for the voicings. How hard would it be to write an algorithm to cut and paste the correct words (picking the correct word inflection based on word placement in the sentence/context - presumably there are angry, happy, elated, monotone versions of most words, and the sound files can be edited to convincingly make them sound in context) together? Sure, you'd have to hand-synthesize the occasional odd word or celebrity-head-in-a-jar's name, but we're probably not very far off from being able to fire the voice actors after the third season of a dialog-driven cartoon.

Re:Speech-to-text (4, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737147)

"Hello... Smithers... You're. quite. good. at. turning. me. on."

I'll give you a hint. If that were in any way possible, we'd be seeing it now. At least for some show like "Pokemon" where the dialog tend to be extremely simple.

We'll see truly convincing computer-generated people long before we'll be hearing them.

Re:Speech-to-text (2, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737455)

If that were in any way possible, we'd be seeing it now.

Actually in a limited scope is is possible to synthesize the speech of a real person. The only problem is that the researcher who came up with the system was DARPA funded and his project went black after it was initially reported on in the media. There was some footage of him with a recreation of Whoopi Goldberg's voice saying novel things. This is a technology that the spooks want exclusive control over for as long as they can.

Re:Speech-to-text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737625)

Why do you think "Osama bin Laden" only publishes audio tapes nowadays, and no videos?

Re:Speech-to-text (2, Informative)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737469)

At this point it's still cheaper to pay high quality voice actors than it is to replace them with software. We have the technology (heck we have software now that can decompile individual strings on a guitar (inside a chord, no less), voices and other instruments and retune the individual notes, remove, add or modify guitar riffs, choruses, bridges etc - google Melodyne or "direct note access" or just watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFCjv4_jqAY [youtube.com]), we just need a person and time to write the program. It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be convincing. Eventually it'll be cheaper to use software like that than it is to pay real voice actors - eventually 3rd rate cartoon shows will use/buy voice/vocabulary libraries for entirely new series, just the same way sitcoms have been using the Red Skeleton Laugh tracks for decades [wikipedia.org].

Re:Speech-to-text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737195)

I rather suspect "the return of chef" is about as good as it gets without reusing entire phrases way too often. (I mean obviously "good news, everyone!" won't sound wrong, but any sentence that hasn't been uttered in its entierty before will at least take quite a bit of human time to modulate correctly and even then sound subtly wrong).

Re:Speech-to-text (2, Interesting)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737233)

On the one hand that is a good idea.

On the other hand the media corporations may use it as a way to copyright a voice, even in a way that the original actors themselves can't sound like that out of the contracted uses.

On a similar note does anyone own Darth Vader's breath sound effect?

Re:Speech-to-text (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737495)

I think the Darth Vader breath sound effect could be trademarked, but Lucas hasn't defended their trademark for over 30 years so it's pretty much become a genericized trademark [wikipedia.org].

To save money on the animation... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737081)

...they are going to go back to those talking upsidedown chin characters.

I predict success.

Casting notice (5, Informative)

HumanEmulator (1062440) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737127)

I work in the business and I saw a casting notice for this go out yesterday. Right now (if you're a member) you can see the notice on a site called Actor's Access here [actorsaccess.com] and the sides are up on Showfax [showfax.com].

Casting notices for shows like this almost never appear on a site like that (it's a step above Craigslist), so my best guess this is a negotiation tactic to convince the cast to accept contracts that pay less, in line with the reduced budget for the show.

This is how much i want futurama back (1)

lindoran (1190189) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737307)

I don't care if they cast satan himself as a voice actor... seriously i just want futurama back.... I could give a sh*t less about who dose the voice acting.

Zapp Brannigan! (2, Funny)

Werrismys (764601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737381)

As long as they keep Zapp Brannigan, Zoidberg, and Fry. They're perfect. Except Fry, who sucks. But excels at it. And the professor. And the hypnotoad. All bow to the mighty hypnotoad.

They could replace ... the kids, the rasta dude, the japanese chick, etc.

They could find an even sexier Leelaaaah... Leeluuuhh... Lee-Laaa.

Re:Zapp Brannigan! (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737435)

They could find an even sexier Leelaaaah... Leeluuuhh... Lee-Laaa.

Should I kill him now, Doctor?

Severely-reduced pay (3, Funny)

keyboarderror (1596427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737453)

Farnsworth: Well, it looks like I'll be needing my heroic bureaucrat back. At severely-reduced pay, of course. [The staff cheer.] LaBarbara: It's better than nothing. Fry: What about me? Can I come back at severely-reduced pay? Hermes: You got it, mon! In fact, severely-reduced pay all around!

Tall Tell Sign (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737473)

However, some are skeptical about whether it's a real casting call or purely a stunt to reduce the salaries of the voice actors."

If they all have East Indian accents, then the question is answered.
     

Chicago Joe (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737589)

people that are sticking up for the studio and claiming that the show will still be the same I am calling you out "You are not true fans of the show" you cant be. If this is to be a true business decision then make the right one. Let the show die. Go ahead blame it on the actors I dont care call it greed whatever. True fans of this show would never except an imatation Bender. Let it die or lose a ton of cash trying to shove crap down our troats.

So how are they going to explain the new voices (4, Interesting)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737649)

on the show? The crew gets into a horrible accident that requires them to get voice box transplants, and Bender's voice gets erased and he is programmed with a different one.

This is almost as bad in a TV series when an actor or actress is replaced with a different one, and it usually happens to Soap Operas and really Cheesy TV shows. The only TV show to do this on a regular basis and still survive was Saturday Night Live, who kept reinventing themselves with new comedians.

Phony! (1)

RSKennan (835119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737743)

99 to 1 odds that this is in fact *another* Fox negotiating stunt. A few years back, when Family Guy went off the air, they held a "contest" to find a new animated sitcom. Like a moron I entered with a friend. Our submission wasn't epic or anything, but they quietly sent it back to us. No new animated show came from the contest and then Family Guy came back with American Dad bringing up the rear (Now THAT'S a sitcom title: "Bringing up the Rear". It could be a family friendly spinoff of Assy Mcgee). The whole contest was PHONY. YOU'RE A PHONY, FOX NETWORK! HEY GUYS... THIS NETWORK'S A PHONY! That said, I do a few voices, so let me review some old clips....

OH FUCK THAT!!!!!..... (0, Flamebait)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737767)

.....And yet, FOX slaughters yet another potential cash cow.

Honestly, what is with companies that take great ideas and totally ruin them in the name of "improving" them?

I could talk about such epic fuck-ups ad nauseum, but I'll limit my post to.....

FUCK THAT. Futurama will lose the vast majority of what it has built up over the years because those asinine morons at the network can't realize a potential major cash source.

Good job FOX. You are about to destroy something very valuable.

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