Can you still answer my question about celebrity voice casting?
Oops, sorry about that. I could offer an excuse because I've been battling a cold for the last few days, but I'm also an idiot for losing track of your question about celebrities doing the voices in cartoons.
Well, I think it's a mixed bag, it's got good points and bad points for both TV and film.
When I was a kid there was Frank Welker and about 12 other actors, and the occasional radio DJ, doing practically all the voices on all the animated shows we'd watch on Saturday mornings. This tended to make all the shows sound the same. Once in a while a celebrity would do a "special" voice appearance in a feature film, but doing it on TV, on a regular basis was pretty much unheard of.
That changed thanks to the work of voice casting guru Andrea Romano. She worked on the development of Batman: The Animated Series and knew that show stood out visually, and wanted the voice casting to stand out as well. Her strategy was brilliant, instead of trying to get some big movie star to do a cameo appearance, she worked in the middle, targeting well known character actors with distinctive voices, as well as vocal range. I mean before her, who would have imagined Mark Hamill being not only the voice of The Joker, but the definitive animated voice of the The Joker.
She really didn't have much trouble attracting talent, just picking and choosing which talent to use with which character. This is because voice acting work is some of the sweetest work in Hollywood. No make-up, no costumes, no stunts, no waiting to set up cameras and lights, and you can do it in a pair of sweat pants and that T-shirt with the coffee stain on the front right next to rip, and get paid good money for it. Also, Batman had a hellacious amount of street cred, thanks to the monster success of the Tim Burton movies.
Pretty soon everyone in animation was doing it on television, and it became almost mandatory in feature films after Disney hit it monster big with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen headlining Toy Story.
Now let's look at the pros and cons of this development:
1. Animated shows get that added boost with viewers that comes from people hearing a familiar voice, even when it's not a big celebrity.
2. Actors in the mid-to lower range of the fame game have a way to earn easy money quick between on-screen gigs.
1. Cost. This is especially true in animated feature films, which have become very dependent on getting voices from A-List celebrities. If they're going to lend their voices to what could be the next Toy Story or Shrek franchise, they're going to want some sort of compensation commensurate to their fame, the expected box office revenue, and possibly a little something-something from the merchandising cash. Television is not so bad, because most are following the Romano "character actor" model instead of pushing for the big name celebrity.
2. Work. With more on-screen character actors doing animation, there is less work for the professional "voice artist" who normally does nothing but vocal work, especially in feature films. Now this is compensated to a large extent by the explosion in animated programs on network, cable, and syndicated television, so it's probably not as bad as one might think.
I hope that answers your question, and I'm sorry for losing it earlier.