Fans across the internet became distraught several weeks ago when the veteran voice actor Harry Shearer announced that he was leaving the animated town of Springfield via twitter . The 71 year old cast-member has been with “The Simpsons” since the beginning, giving life to a broad list of characters. However, after what seemed like a heated contract dispute, the talented performer has officially been signed back on to the series’ upcoming seasons.
Shearer’s decision to leave the show was reportedly not related to financial issues, instead the actor proclaimed that the Simpsons contract didn’t give him the flexibility in his schedule that he desired. On top of his many contributions to the on-going tv show, Shearer also hosts the radio program “Le Show” and stars in the web series “Nixon’s The One”. He tweeted about his concerns, saying “I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work.” However, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean revealed to Entertainment Weekly the very next day that he was confused by the statement.
“Everybody on the show does lots of outside projects. He actually gets to record on the phone and do the [table] reads on the phone. So we’ve never kept him from doing that stuff.” said Jean, adding “We’ve excused him for several [reads] and he records, as long as it’s done in time, when it’s convenient for him. So it’s not a scheduling thing. And he says it’s not a money thing. So I’m not sure what he’s thinking.”
The voice actor, whom recently won an Emmy for his work on The Simpsons, played such characters as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Seymour Skinner, Lenny, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman, Reverend Lovejoy, Otto, and Smithers – among some other smaller roles. Needless to say, he is incredibly valuable to the team, and they certainly didn’t want to retire all those beloved characters. However, due to scheduling they had to commence production on season 27 without him, and the prospect of replacing him became more and more real each day.
Fortunately, whatever conflicts the actor had seemed to have been reconciled. Fox announced today that Shearer will be returning to the cast alongside the other veterans we know and love like Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and Nancy Cartwright. His temporary absence will not have an impact on the upcoming season, and Jean brought the whole dilemma to a close with a statement on twitter late this afternoon, saying “I am truly glad he is returning to the show.”
So are we, Jean. So are we.