Harry Shearer Signs New Deal to Return to Simpsons After Contract Dispute

Harry Shearer
Harry Shearer is returning to The Simpsons. Michael Kovac/WireImage

As Mr. Burns would say, excellent! Harry Shearer, who voices the nuclear power plant mogul, Ned Flanders, Smithers, and a host of other characters on The Simpsons, will be returning for the long-running animated comedy’s 27th and 28th seasons, Fox announced on Tuesday, July 7. The other principal voice actors — Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria — will also be back to voice the characters they’ve brought to life since the award-winning show debuted in 1989.

News of Shearer’s return comes as a big surprise. In May, the actor revealed on Twitter that he was leaving the show after 26 seasons and said that it was not about the money 

Al Jean, the executive producer of the show, told Entertainment Weekly the day after the tweets that he was confused by the star’s reasoning because the other actors were able to do outside projects as well. “We’ve never kept him from doing that stuff,” Jean said.

The Simpsons - Mr Burns
One of the characters Harry Shearer voices is that of antagonist Mr. Burns. Michael Kovac

According to a statement released by producers Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Jean after news of Shearer’s exit broke, the actor had received the same contract that the other cast members had signed. They also said at the time that rather than killing off his characters, their voices would be recast. 

After the news of Shearer’s return was revealed, Jean shared his thoughts on Twitter, admitting that he perhaps misunderstood how much time the actor was supposed to have for his other pursuits.

The Simpsons returns for Season 27 on Sunday, Sept. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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