Ned Flanders Says No: ‘Simpsons’ Actor Harry Shearer Out For Seasons 27 And 28

Imagine The Simpsons without Mr. Burns, the much-despised owner of the nuclear power plant, and his sidekick Smithers. Or nightly Simpsons broadcasts without newsman Kent Brockman, Bart’s nemesis Principal Skinner, or everyone’s favorite annoying neighbor, Ned Flanders. Coming up in Seasons 27 and 28, those characters may sound a bit different, or they may not appear at all. Harry Shearer, the actor behind those personalities, has not signed on to renew his contract with the show.

Shearer seemed to confirm the news on his Twitter feed Wednesday night.

TMZ reported last Friday that there was a holdout in the conclusion of contract negotiations for the new seasons. The issues were not salary, but back end profits and merchandising.

Fox announced the renewal of The Simpsons with a May 4 press release that quoted its central character, Homer Simpson.

“I’ve outlasted Letterman, Jon Stewart and ‘McDreamy,’ because I have something they don’t: a costly 200-donut-a-day addiction.”

Entertainment Weekly reported that the loss of Shearer is significant, as he has been with the program since 1989. The Simpsons has begun production on Season 27 without Shearer, but according to EW producers were hopeful they could reach an agreement. James L. Brooks made it clear the show was in production on his Twitter feed last week, as he made reference to a run-through of a future episode.

Over its lengthy run, The Simpsons has lost a number of different characters. Edna Krabappel, Bart’s fourth-grade teacher and Ned Flanders’ wife following a 2012 wedding, was retired after the passing of actor Marcia Wallace. In a much-hyped episode last fall, the father of Krusty the Clown died after the show teased a major figure would leave the program.

It is unclear if any of Shearer’s characters will experience a similar fate, or if another actor will be tapped to voice the roles. After news broke of his earlier tweets, Shearer again took to Twitter to acknowledge fan support of his work.

The Simpsons airs on Fox.

[Harry Shearer image courtesy of Getty]