UPDATE: Following the Harry Shearer's cryptic tweets about possibly leaving The Simpsons, producer Al Jean took to Twitter to all but confirm the news that the voice actor is out. "The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever," Jean posted on Thursday morning.
In several replies to inquiries from the press, the producer clarified Shearer's claims about the contract disputes. "[In] my view we did [offer what him what he wanted] and he still passed. [Shearer] was offered the same deal as other 5 [cast members]," Jean wrote.
While the actor may be out, he will still be heard in this season's Treehouse of Horror episode and the show is even open to him coming back. "In life never say never," he offered.
But Jean did clarify that Shearer's characters, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders, would be recast. "No yellow wedding," he joked, making reference to Game of Thrones' infamous Red Wedding scene, which saw the deaths of many prominent characters.
For more on the original story, read below:
Comedy star Harry Shearer, the voice actor behind over 23 regular Simpsons characters including Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, and Ned Flanders, sent a pair of cryptic tweets Wednesday evening that hinted that the longtime voice actor might be done on the long-running Fox favorite.
from James L. Brooks' lawyer: "show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.". (1/2)— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
"From James L. Brooks' lawyer: 'show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best'," Shearer wrote, referring to the show’s executive producer. Shearer and the rest of the cast were reportedly in the middle of negotiating contracts for the show’s 27th and 28th seasons, which Fox picked up earlier this month.
The comedian, who is also well known for his roles in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary films like This Is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind, seemed to explain the reason for the split in his next tweet, writing, "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best."
This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best. (2/2)— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
Shearer has also provided voices for The Simpsons' many video games and the feature film, The Simpsons Movie. He won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance in 2014 for his work on the show.