Harry Shearer, the voice behind Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and Mr. Burns on The Simpsons, announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the long-running animated series after 26 seasons. Shearer said that the departure came from his desire to do outside work.
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
Shearer, 71, has been one of the show's primary voice actors, giving way to dozens of characters over the series' 26 seasons. Shearer was offered a guaranteed $14 million to continue through the 27th and 28th seasons, according to CNN.
While the voice cast of the The Simpsons has been involved in contract disputes over the years, this is the first time that one of the show's main voice actors has left.
Showrunner Al Jean stated that Shearer's characters would be recast, according to CNN.