10:48am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Harry Shearer Inks Deal to Return to 'The Simpsons'
Update, 12:49 p.m.: Showrunner Al Jean issued the following statement via Twitter: "I would like to clear up a misunderstanding. I have recently been told that during a period where Harry Shearer believed he had a five-week free period from the Simpsons, I was unaware of this fact, and did in fact request material from him. If so, my bad. I am truly glad he is returning to the show."
Here's some good news in advance of The Simpsons' panel at Comic-Con.
Harry Shearer has signed a new deal to return to the Fox animated comedy, the network announced Tuesday. With the deal, all six principal voice actors are confirmed to return for the historic 27th and 28th seasons.
The deal is the same as his fellow voice cast — a two-year deal with an option for another two seasons (so a potential four-year pact) and an estimated $300,000 per episode. The series was renewed earlier this year for two additional seasons, taking it through season 28.
Producers, including showrunner Al Jean, told THR that Shearer was offered the same two-year deal (with an option for two more) as the rest of his fellow voice actors, and the plan was to recast his roles should he opt to depart. This was Shearer's second contract dispute with the series, produced by 20th Century Fox Television. He was the lone cast holdout in the last round of contract negotiations, when the actors agreed to a pay cut in 2011, and they stopped going to script readings in 2004 before landing salary bumps at the time.
Read more 'The Simpsons' at 500: Untold Stories