Release The Hounds: Harry Shearer, Voice Of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders And Smithers, Leaves The Simpsons
Last night, Harry Shearer, who is the voice of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Smithers, Dr. Hibbert, Kang, Kent Brockman, Lenny and many more on The Simpsons, announced that he has left the show. He Tweeted last night, "Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support." As for the iconic characters he gave voice to—they are going to be recast.
Shearer, who has been unhappy with how Fox has been treating the voice actors, suggested that his departure is over contract issues:
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
This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work.— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
Of course, I wish him the very best. (2/2)
Simpsons producer Al Jean Tweeted, ".@thesimpsons #everysimpsonsever The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever." And he told the NY Times, "Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard. We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available."
Variety noted Shearer's past displeasure:
The rest of the “Simpsons” voice cast recently signed two-year extensions, logging on for seasons 27 and 28, with Shearer being the only one holding out. He also tweeted a shot at Fox earlier this month, slamming a press release announcing that the show was picked up for two more seasons that failed to recognize the voice actors. Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria are all still set to return for the next two seasons. Production on season 27 has already begun without Shearer.