Harry Shearer Will Return to ‘The Simpsons’
Despite a previous announcement from The Simpsons voice actor Harry Shearer indicating otherwise, it looks like Shearer will officially return to the longstanding animated show after cementing a deal to be part of both its historic 27th and 28th seasons.
According to Deadline, Fox released a statement confirming the news, saying, "Following the announcement of The Simpsons’ renewal for an unprecedented 27th and 28th seasons, 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."
That means all six of the show's main voice actors -- Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and, of course, Shearer -- will be part of the show's next two seasons.
Shearer first confirmed that he would be parting ways with The Simpsons via Twitter back in May. He wrote, "I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work," but showrunner Al Jean hit back, saying the cast always had the chance to work on other projects.
Jean said at the time (via The Hollywood Reporter), "We made him an offer, and we're once more saying, 'Do you want to come back like everybody else and work hard and care about the show? Great.' He said he wanted to do other projects, which makes no sense because we've always let the cast do all the other projects they want — they have great free time. So I don't really know what he's up to [or] what he's thinking."
Whether show executives quickly realized the problem they'd face in recasting Shearer's particular characters -- among them Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns and Principal Skinner -- and renegotiated his contract, or if Shearer had a change of heart and signed the initial deal remains to be seen. Either way, it's good news.
The Simpsons is currently television's longest running scripted primetime show, and an iconic one at that, but if upcoming plot points of a Simpson separation -- first rumored by Al Jean and then dispelled by Homer and Marge a few days after the story gained traction -- are any indication, maybe it shouldn't be renewed for a 29th season.
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