A couple months ago word came out that Harry Shearer was holding out on returning to The Simpsons as it extended its run through Season 28. Shearer may not voice any of the immediate Simpsons family, but his characters range all the way from Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders to Scratchy, Principal Skinner, Dr. Hibbert, and more. It was a big hit for Simpsons fans, but it looks like the actor has negotiated a new deal, and in fact will be returning to the series.
The confirmation comes via Variety, that Shearer will indeed continue to lend his voice to the long-running Fox series through Season 27 and Season 28. After a long public dispute over his contract, Shearer had previously announced he would not be returning to the animated series chalking it up to wanting “freedom to do other work”, and Simpsons exec producers Matt Groening, Al Jean and James L. Brooks released a statement that they would be recasting Shearer’s roles. But Brooks had also publicly appealed the actor’s decision to leave the show, suggesting that the contract negotiations would continue.
The deal was confirmed earlier this morning, and Shearer will enter the same as his fellow voice cast, a two-year deal with option for another two seasons and an estimated $300,000 per episode. Shearer had previously battled with the studio over compensation, but this time around held to the fact that his departure was not due to a money issue. So we can’t be sure what exactly changed his mind, from the sound of it, he was previously offered the same deal as his fellow voice cast, but then again there may be some less public dealings that made him change his mind. Either way, we’re happy to say that Burns is back.
Showrunner Al Jean issued a statement via Twitter clearing up the misunderstanding that Harry Shearer had believed he had a five-week period free from the Simpsons when the showrunner requested more material. He ended the three-part Twitter statement with:
But it could be that the misunderstanding was at the center of the problem. No matter the case, we’re just happy Shearer is stepping back into his rightful place on the show, and we don’t have to worry about someone like Ted Cruz replacing him…
The Simpsons will return to Fox with all six of its principal voice actors this fall.