Harry Shearer’s Simpsons career may be over, but the showrunners are leaving the door open.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Shearer, who was one of the original voiceover actors on the long-running series, will be departing after 26 seasons on the show. The Simpsons has been picked up for seasons 27 and 28. Shearer breathed both voice and life into such iconic characters as Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Smithers, Seymour Skinner, Otto, Dr. Hibbert, Lenny, Reverend Lovejoy, and so many others.
Because of the show’s commitment to the two new seasons, and because the five remaining voiceover actors have already signed contract extensions, the show will go on, with different voiceover actors.
“Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed,” Simpsons executive producer Al Jean said this morning. “The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard.”
The next day, however, Jean seemed to feel that Shearer may have a change of heart and return. Still, many questions are left unanswered, like who can replace Shearer, will it be done by committee, most importantly, will the fans notice the difference?
Jean has stated that the showrunners haven’t begun looking for Shearer’s replacement, but if Shearer doesn’t have a change of heart and sign the extension, that would be the producer’s next step.
According to CNN Money, Shearer turned down the same deal that the remaining cast signed, which was for seasons 27 and 28 worth $14 million. Shearer tweeted his reason for the dispute, which is for him to have the freedom to pursue other projects. He says he has had that freedom for a few years now.
“In last four years, I’ve created and starred in a UK TV series and starred on London stage. Not stopping,” Shearer wrote in a message to CNNMoney.
What’s puzzling about Shearer’s stance is that the proposed deal would allow Shearer the freedom to pursue other projects, just like the other cast’s deals.
Jean has been asked by fans all over if there is a chance Shearer may reconsider and sign on, Jean said, “In life I never say never.”
The drama all started when Fox announced they had ordered seasons 27 and 28, when it was announced that one of the stars was holding out. Shearer, a prolific tweeter, tweeted that he was the lone holdout. When word got out that Shearer was leaving the show, many fans tweeted their disbelief. Shearer has one last tweet; “Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support.”
[Image courtesy of Comic Book Resources]