Harry Shearer, the Voice of Iconic Simpsons Characters, Is Leaving the Show

Departs after contract talks break down

The voice of some of the most recognizable and beloved animated characters of the last 30 years is going silent. Harry Shearer confirmed on Twitter that he won't be back for the 27th season of the hit Fox show The Simpsons after he could not come to terms with producers on a new contract.

The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean wrote on Twitter, "The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever."

Shearer has been the voice of Ned Flanders, C. Montgomery Burns, Waylon Smithers, Kent Brockman, Seymour Skinner and dozens of other characters.

The one-time Saturday Night Live cast member (remember his Mike Wallace impression?) wrote on Twitter: "I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

The Simpsons was mentioned in 21st Century Fox's third-quarter earnings report on May 6—specifically, the cost of re-airing the show on FXX. "The expense growth at the new channels was led by increased rights fees … and increased programming costs at FXX led by The Simpsons." But it was a Simpsons mega-marathon last summer that all but saved the cable channel.