Harry Shearer Is Returning to 'The Simpsons'

by Raphael Chestang 2:15 PM PDT, July 07, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

Seven weeks after tweeting a cryptic message insinuating that he might be leaving The Simpsons, Harry Shearer is returning to the long-running animated comedy, Fox confirms to ET.

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The Emmy winner, who voices Ned Flanders, Lenny, Principal Skinner and Mr. Burns, among other characters, has signed a four-season contract which will keep the show's original six-actor cast intact, as Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Hank Azaria are also on board. The actors are estimated to make more than $300,000 per episode through the new deals.

On May 13, Shearer signaled his exit in a tweet, which read, "From [executive producer] James L. Brooks' lawyer: 'show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.'"

This was followed by a message from producer Al Jean, who wrote, "The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever."

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At the time, Shearer hinted that his hesitance to come back had nothing to do with money, but rather the schedule.

"I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work," Shearer tweeted.

The issue seems to have come from an instance of miscommunication between Shearer and Jean.

"I would like to clear up a misunderstanding," Jean tweeted today. "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."

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The Simpsons returns to Fox for its 27th season on September 27.