Two months ago, The Simpsons fans everywhere were delivered a major blow in the form of news that voice actor Harry Shearer – the man behind many of the show’s famed characters including Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns – had departed the show after failing to renegotiate a new contract with Fox.
Well, after a long two months of wondering who would replace him, we finally have our answer… nobody.
According to a new statement from Fox, Shearer has finally made a new deal with the network to return to the show for its upcoming 27th and 28th seasons. Here is the official statement on the matter issued by Fox:
Following the announcement of THE SIMPSONS’ renewal for an unprecedented 27th and 28th seasons, FOX is proud to confirm that each and every member of the iconic series’ voice cast will be returning in the roles they’ve brought to life since the show’s beginnings as a series of animated shorts nearly 30 years ago.
Originally, Shearer had been offered the same two-year deal as the rest of his cast-members, but ultimately turned it down. However, after all this time, the deal he ultimately signed this week is the same one he was offered in May. While it’s possible there are other provisions in the contract that may allow Shearer to take work elsewhere during his time on The Simpsons, it’s impossible to know who blinked first in this scenario.
Spingfield’s core voice cast will remain intact on through to the show's 28th season, though the upcoming Simpsons episodes will find ways to mix things up (a little) in other ways. For example, Sideshow Bob will finally kill Bart Simpson - albeit, not permanently - in the upcoming 'Treehouse of Horror 26'. Meanwhile, Homer and Marge will NOT be getting divorced, but they will be experiencing marriage issues of... well, some kind.
Despite the show only being renewed through season 28 at the moment, it’s hard to imagine the Fox institution going anywhere until, at the very earliest, 2019. The reason? Even numbers. There’s no way Fox is going to end the show prior to a mind-boggling 30th season renewal. Now that the show has itself a lucrative syndication deal with FXX, all Fox has to do is continue making new episodes and they will pay for themselves before anyone can say “heidely-ho, neighbor.”
The Simpsons returns in Fall 2015 with season 27 on Fox.