NEW YORK–Looks like Harry Shearer isn’t leaving “The Simpsons” after all.
Shearer – who had apparently left the show over a contract dispute in May – will be returning to the show for its 27th season this fall. The actor’s “Simpsons” characters include Mr. Burns, Waylon Smithers, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner.
Fox said in a statement Tuesday, “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.”
According to EW, Shearer signed the same contract as the show’s other principals: Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria. The deal pays each cast member more than $300,000 per episode, the site reported.
Even after the dispute in May, Shearer hadn’t ruled out continuing with “The Simpsons.”
Asked by CNNMoney whether he were really ending his run, he had two words: “stay tuned.” And James L. Brooks, one of the show’s producers, tweeted, “Hey, we tried. We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”
Even show-runner Al Jean, who had taken a harder line with Shearer, told CNNMoney at the time that “the door is open right now,” though he also noted that the show was prepared to go on without the actor.
“I hope he comes back, and I hope he tells us soon what his plan is, and if he doesn’t, the show will continue regardless,” Jean said.
The new season will begin September 27.