Finally, Harry Shearer has given fans something to be happy about. After all, it’s been a heck of a toboggan ride for fans of The Simpsons over the past few weeks. Shearer himself set the ball rolling when he announced he would not be returning for the show’s 27th season, prompting folks behind the scenes to look for options to keep the franchise moving forward. Then, it was rumored that Marge and Homer were headed for splitsville in the coming batch of episodes, prompting an outcry from fans about the fate of their favorite couple and a statement from the show indicating the estrangement wouldn’t be permanent.
Now, it seems it’s Harry Shearer’s turn to come around and set things right for Simpsons enthusiasts. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Shearer has inked a deal that puts him into the same pay-grade as his fellow cast members, pulling in a reported $300,000 per episode. Shearer’s talents provide voices to a whole host of recurring Simpsons characters, including Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and many others.
The news of Shearer’s return was confirmed with a tweet from The Simpsons‘ official Twitter account.
— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) July 7, 2015
Fox, the network that has carried The Simpsons since the character’s debut via The Tracey Ullman Show, also touted the return of the show’s full ensemble in an official statement, as reported by NBC News.
“FOX is proud to confirm that each and every member of the iconic series’ voice cast will be returning in the roles they’ve brought to life since the show’s beginnings as a series of animated shorts nearly 30 years ago.”
Shearer’s new contract reportedly secures his spot in the show for both the forthcoming season as well as the following season, according to Entertainment Weekly. There are also options for two additional seasons, which would take the entire core cast through a total of 30 seasons of The Simpsons.
Although Harry Shearer’s various and sundry characters were slated for re-casting in the event that he did not ultimately return, Entertainment Weekly reports that there were seven “holdover” episodes from last season on the shelf that already featured Shearer’s vocal talents. So, although curious types may have wondered what some of the show’s most popular characters might sound like without Harry Shearer at the mic, it seems that we’ll never have to tread into that dark corner of Springfield after all.