The Simpsons Get Renewed, But Harry Shearer’s Leaving

It’s the good news, bad new routine. The Simpsons get renewed for another two years, but Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr. Burns, Reverend Lovejoy, and many other characters, is leaving the show.

Some years back, the entire cast of the Simpsons almost walked away due to contract negotiations, and thankfully everything got sorted out. Now CNN reports that Shearer is leaving when contract negotiations broke down. Shearer tweeted he wants “freedom to do other work,” and James L. Brooks, the director of Terms of Endearment who is also a producer on the show, tweeted in response, “We’re still trying. Harry, no kidding, let’s talk.”

We do indeed hope that Shearer will have a change of heart and stick around a few more years. The Simpsons voice cast has always been terrific, and he’s one of the best in the ensemble. It’s hard to imagine someone else doing the voice of Mr. Burns, Principal Skinner, or Flanders. (Not to mention he’s also the voice of the hilarious action hero McBain, among other great characters.

In my humble opinion, The Simpsons has declined in quality since about 1997, but the first seven or eight years the show was absolutely on fire, and got better every episode. (To me,  many of those shows are just as good as when they first aired.) Still, we’re big believers that it’s always good to have The Simpsons around as long as they choose to stay, and we hope Shearer will stick it out until The Simpsons finally do come to their rightful end.