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'The Simpsons' Producer Changes Animation Firms

January 21, 1992|SHARON BERNSTEIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Don't have a cow, but a different animation studio is going to be drawing Bart Simpson next season.

After what one high-ranking source called "two years of battles and putting out fires," Gracie Films, which produces the animated comedy for Fox Broadcasting, plans to contract with North Hollywood-based Film Roman to draw the half-hour program for next fall.

The move ends a relationship with Los Angeles-based Klasky-Csupo Animation that goes back to the Simpson's beginnings as a short segment on "The Tracy Ullman Show."

"There won't be any change in the quality or look of the show," executive producer Sam Simon said. "We're not going to compromise the quality of the show, and key creative personnel will continue on the show."

Simon would not provide details of the new arrangement, which is scheduled to begin this spring, or give reasons for the change.

Gabor Csupo, part owner of Klasky-Csupo, said Gracie executives were miffed because he refused to comply with their demands for changes in the studio's operations.

"They asked me if they could bring in their own producer, and I said, 'No,' " Csupo said. "They wanted to tell me how to run my business."

A source close to the program confirmed that Gracie executives had been unhappy with the producer Csupo had assigned to "The Simpsons" and said the company also hoped to obtain better wages and working conditions for animators at Film Roman.

Csupo said he expects to lay off all but 35 of the 110 animators who had worked on "The Simpsons." The program is scheduled to begin its fourth season next fall.

Free-lance writer Charles Solomon contributed to this story.

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