Harry Shearer, Voice of Mr. Burns, Leaves 'The Simpsons'
"Maggie took it hard," the show's executive producers said.
By STEPHEN IERVOLINO and LESLEY MESSER
May 14, 2015, 2:55 PM
• 5 min read
-- Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner and other residents of Springfield may soon be silenced, as the guy who voices them, Harry Shearer, has parted ways with "The Simpsons" for the just-announced seasons 27 and 28.
The show is in season 26.
“Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well," "Simpsons" executive producers James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean said in a statement obtained by ABC News. "Maggie took it hard.”
Shearer, a former cast member of "Saturday Night Live" and star of movies like "This Is Spinal Tap" and "Godzilla," tweeted Wednesday evening about "The Simpsons" executive producer, saying, "- from James L. Brooks' lawyer: ‘show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.’”
Shearer, 71, followed that with, "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best."
Shearer has had a prickly relationship with the long-running show for a long time; back in 2004 he dissed the series to the Irish Examiner as having creatively run out of gas. Shearer, who reportedly was paid $250,000 per year at the time, was quoted as saying, "It's possible to make a very nice living and still get totally screwed."
Al Jean, the Fox series' showrunner, didn't hold back, calling Shearer a "malcontent" to the New York Post at the time, adding, "For someone earning millions off the show this year ... I just think it's unfathomable for him to take a shot at us."
In 2008, the cast held out for more money -- $500,000 per episode, allegedly -- but settled for $400,000 per show, according to reports. In 2012, the cast renegotiated a pay cut, but one not as severe as the network was seeking.
Last week, Fox put out a news release announcing the renewal through 2017, but did not include the names of any of its voice cast, prompting Shearer to tweet sarcastically, "Doesn't this show have a cast?"
This time, however, he was the lone holdout; Dan Castellaneta (Homer, others), Julie Kavner (Marge), Nancy Cartwright (Bart, others), Yeardley Smith (Lisa) and Hank Azaria, (Moe, Apu, others) have re-signed and are already working on the show's upcoming 27th season.