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It always sucks when it comes down to the business of the show–but that’s show business.
Harry Shearer, legendary comedian, comedic actor and gifted vocal artist, will no longer be a part of The Simpsons after contract talks met an impasse. The details of the contract? $14 million over two years. All the lead actors were pretty much offered the same deal. Harry loved the idea of the money, but the contract locked him into exclusivity. In the past, he’d enjoyed more freedom to work on outside projects, and he and his team were fighting for the same freedoms he had enjoyed since 1989.
What does this mean for the show? Nothing, really. The Simpsons will venture into their 27th and 28th seasons without the actor who has voiced Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman and the incomparable Ned Flanders.
Yes. That’s a kick in the gut to longtime fans of the show. Figuratively speaking.
James L. Brooks and show runner Al Jean wished Harry the best, but reiterated that the show would go on, and that they would be casting an individual, or individuals from the voice acting community who could voice these roles.
To most, it seems silly that Harry Shearer would pass up such a deal, but the big picture is worth consideration. Harry is 71 years old, and he’s already a millionaire, many times over. When you’ve been on the earth for 70-plus years, I’d have to imagine money becomes a little less important than your time. Still, losing Harry Shearer? Could this be the beginning of a long end to a long-running show?