10:55pm PT by Ryan Gajewski, Lesley Goldberg
'Simpsons' Producer: Harry Shearer Offered "Same Deal" Rest of Cast Accepted; "Will Recast" Roles
Updated, 11 a.m.: The Simpsons creator James L. Brooks has responded with a tweet of his own: "Hey, we tried. We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk."
Updated, 5:30 a.m. PT Thursday: The Simpsons showrunner Al Jean confirmed the news via Twitter. ".@thesimpsons #everysimpsonsever The show will go on, made by people who love it and see in it the most wonderful vehicle for satire ever," he wrote.
"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. Maggie took it hard. We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available," Jean said in a statement to the New York Times.
Previous, Wednesday: The Simpsons appears to be moving on without a key member of its voice cast."
Harry Shearer, who brings to life such characters as Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers and Principal Skinner, tweeted Wednesday that the venerable Fox animated series has informed him that his contract will not be renewed.
"From [Simpsons executive producer] James L. Brooks' lawyer: 'Show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best,' " Shearer tweeted, adding in a second post: "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best."
The actor and comedian — who has been with The Simpsons since its origins on The Tracey Ullman Show — was the lone cast holdout in the latest round of negotiations, with the rest of the talent having signed on for seasons 27 and 28. The same day, Shearer tweeted his disdain for Fox's press release announcing the formal renewal — which did not include the names of any of its voice cast.
This is not the first time the show's cast has been embroiled in contract disputes with the show. The actors agreed to a pay cut in 2011 after fierce negotiations, and they stopped going to script readings in 2004 before eventually landing pay bumps.
Representatives for 20th Century Fox Television, which produces The Simpsons, could not immediately be reached for comment. Calls and emails to Shearer's personal managers and publicists were not returned.
Shearer's tweets can be seen below.
from James L. Brooks' lawyer: "show will go on, Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.". (1/2)— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015
This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work. Of course, I wish him the very best. (2/2)— Harry Shearer (@theharryshearer) May 14, 2015