The Simpsons loses Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, and Principal Skinner as Harry Shearer quits
Is it the beginning of the end of The Simpsons?
Actor Harry Shearer (71), who has voiced several characters including Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Otto, Smithers, and more has reportedly quit the show after 26 years.
Shearer tweeted about leaving, quoting Simpsons writer and producer James L. Brooks' lawyer as saying the "show will go on, Harry will not be part of it."
It seems Shearer's desire to work on other projects may be the reason behind his departure.
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
Production on seasons 27 and 28 of the long running cartoon series are due to kick off soon and TMZ reports that Shearer may have held out on signing his contract because of something to do with merchandising payments.
It seems unlikely the show can survive with characters like Flanders and Mr Burns although keeping them with different voices seems equally inconceivable.
Fox recently announced it would continue for at least two more years, bringing the show up to a record 28 years on the air and 625 episodes.
Although the show has fallen in popularity over the last decade, its ratings remain solid for the network.
Coupled with endorsement and merchandise deals, the series is still a huge money-spinner, almost three decades after it first aired.