Seven weeks ago, fans of The Simpsons received some rather dismaying news: the voice of Mr. Burns, Harry Shearer, was leaving the seminal show after 24 years of releasing the hounds:
Shearer's impressive vocal repertoire was responsible for bringing a whole host of Springfield's colorful cast to life, including Seymour Skinner, Lenny, Dr. Hibbert, Kent Brockman, Reverend Lovejoy and Otto. Unsurprisingly, the prospect of replacing him was almost inconceivable, causing producer James L. Brooks to reach out to the actor in an attempt to prevent his departure.
According to THR, disagreements had arisen over the flexibility of Shearer's schedule. However, it appears he and the showrunners were able to resolve the dispute, because...
Burns Is Back!
Yes, Shearer has now signed a four season contract, along with the other five primary voice actors - Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria - thereby keeping the show’s original cast together where they belong!
Shearer, who has always kept himself busy with creative side projects - including his radio program 'Le Show' and original web series 'Nixon’s The One' - said:
"I wanted what we’ve always had: the freedom to do other work."
Simpsons executive producer Al Jean was confused by Shearer's scheduling gripe, stating:
"Everybody on the show does lots of outside projects. He actually gets to record on the phone and do the [table] reads on the phone. So we’ve never kept him from doing that stuff."
Jean cleared up the 'misunderstanding,' assuring fans that their beloved tyrannical tycoon, Mr. Burns, will return with his original voice intact:
It's truly exxxcellent news for all involved, not least for fans who can now continue to watch the show they love, with the cast they love.
The Simpsons will continue for its 27th and 28th season, bringing its episode tally to a whopping 625! The new season premieres on September 27.