Despite what you may think of The Simpsons at this point, it’s still churning out new episodes. Fox recently renewed the show for two more years, which means that even if the final episode of season 28 ends up being the last episode of The Simpsons ever, the series will still have run over 630 episodes. The Simpsons has run longer than any other prime time comedy or drama series, and unless the world ends sometime in the next two years, then The Simpsons is likely to go on too. Just now without Harry Shearer. In an odd announcement on Twitter Wednesday night, Shearer told fans that he was leaving the show, but what will happen to the some 100 characters, over 20 of them regular fixtures, when he goes?

Here’s Shearer’s announcement in three short tweets:

So what the heck happened? Depends on who you ask. Shearer says that he wanted to balance other projects with his Simpsons work, which would require him to be more mobile and able to literally phone in his voiceover work from wherever he found himself. The Powers That Be in Springfield though say that Shearer was looking for more compensation, and refused to take the same compensation package that the rest of the cast accepted.

“Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed,” executive producer Al Jean said in a statement to the New York Times. “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.”

That’s a lot of voice talent. Other Shearer characters include Principal Skinner, Lenny, Kang, McBain, Smithers, Reverend Lovejoy, Judge Snyder, Kent Brockman, Jasper, Otto, Dr. Hibbert, and, of course, God. In the past, the deaths of cast members have resulted in those characters being written off, like how the recent passing of Marcia Wallace meant the loss of Edna Krabappel, or how Phil Hartman‘s untimely death in 1998 meant no more Lionel Hutz or Troy McClure. This is a unique situation though because a) Shearer lives and b) he voiced so many characters…

But there is a bright spot in all this. Simpsons executive producer James L. Brooks tweeted:

So it’s entirely possible that Shearer may come back if the price is right, but if not, those obsessive fans can look forward to parsing the show with a finely tuned ear in September to see if they can hear the difference. We’ll keep you posted with any news on the matter.

Source: /Film

Category: TV

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