Simpsons fans can heave a collective sigh of relief as one of Springfield’s MVPs has finally come home again.
Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Harry Shearer, who voiced beloved characters such as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and more than a dozen others will return to The Simpsons seven weeks after he announced he would be leaving the show.
All together now:
The Simpsons Twitter account also confirmed Shearer would be joining Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria, who had already signed on to do more seasons of the show back in May.
Shearer signed a contract that will keep the cast together for four years. The show is already renewed for seasons 27 and 28, with a network option for possible seasons 29 and 30, and during that time, they will earn more than $300,000 an episode.
Almost as soon as he announced his exit in May, producers tried to work things out with Shearer; even he seemed open to the idea, telling CNNMoney “Stay tuned.” Had he not decided to return to The Simpsons, executive producer Al Jean had several backlogged episodes with Shearer’s recordings and would’ve recast all of the characters he portrayed over the years.
truly glad he is returning to the show.— Al Jean (@AlJean) July 7, 2015
But truly, all of America should be relieved to not have to imagine a future in which Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken over Shearer’s roles (though we admit that would make a great “Treehouse of Horror” episode concept).
Update 2:35pm CT, July 7: Shearer responded to critics on Twitter and denied that he held out for money—reaffirming what he said in May—or that his departure and return was a publicity stunt.
@DaveByknish Wasn't about $$$$. Thanks.— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) July 7, 2015
@LucioFulciFan Nope.— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) July 7, 2015
Per his Twitter account, he also announced that he’ll also be able to work on projects outside of The Simpsons.
@MikeRoe Yes.— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) July 7, 2015