The Simpsons cast is staying intact.
Harry Shearer, who voices more than 20 characters, has inked a new deal with Fox and 20th Century Fox Television to continue with the show through its already green-lit twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth seasons. Additionally, his deal, which is understood to be worth $300 000 per episode, also gives Fox an option for two additional seasons (the show’s twenty-ninth and thirtieth).
Previously, Shearer had announced on Twitter that he would not be returning to the show after failing to reach an agreement with the network and the studio. At the time the issue was said to be about the flexibility to do other projects outside of The Simpsons, rather than being a financial concern (especially as Shearer and the other cast members took a pay cut several years ago to keep the show going).
Even then showrunner Al Jean was hopeful that, with discussions still happening, Shearer could be convinced to return for the new episodes, but was prepared to cast new actors to voice the litany of characters played by Harry Shearer, including Ned Flanders and Mr Burns. This appears to have been a case of crossed wires and once the air had been cleared between producers and the actor a new deal was quickly agreed to.
“I would like to clear up a misunderstanding”, The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean said in a statement released on Twitter. “I have recently been told that during a period where Harry Shearer believed he had a five week free period from the Simpsons, I was unaware of this fact, and did in fact request material from him. If so, my bad. I am truly glad he is returning to the show”.
With Shearer having now officially signed on, the entire core cast – including Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria – will be back for the next four seasons of The Simpsons and work can now continue on the show’s 27th season, which began production sans Shearer last month to meet the Fall premiere date set by Fox. The 27th season of The Simpsons premieres on Fox on Sunday September 27th.