This year, Shearer’s stance in contract negotiations is leaving the 71-year-old on the outside looking in when The Simpsons continues for seasons 27 and 28 without him.
“We do not plan to ‘kill off’ his characters,” said showrunner Al Jean today, “but replace them with the most talented members of the voice over community.”
— Al Jean (@AlJean) May 14, 2015
Harry Shearer has voiced dozens of animated characters since The Simpsons debuted in half-hour form on FOX in 1989, including Mr. Burns and Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, Lenny Leonard, Dr. Hibbert and more.
Shearer Tweeted overnight about the tense contract negotiations going awry, writing: “From James L. Brooks’ lawyer: “show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.” This because I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best.”
Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support.
— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
Shearer elaborated that he had starred in outside projects such as his UK TV series, Nixon’s The One, and gone on stage runs, and wanted to continue working outside of The Simpsons voice booths.
In a statement, Jean said they offered Shearer the same contract his mates already accepted. “The show will go on and we wish him well,” Jean said. “Maggie took it hard.”