It would be a pretty crushing blow for The Simpsons to lose such an important cast member: Shearer voices a large percentage of key characters, including Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Scratchy and Dr. Hibbert. Ah-hee-hee-hee!
Time is running out for Shearer to re-up for two years as the rest of the cast have, and after the Tweet above appeared, numerous outlets, including Variety, reported his departure as a done deal. But at CNN Money, where they actually communicated with Shearer, word is there’s still a chance, with the actor saying “I think that’s a question better posed to them.” The sticking point, it seems, is that the new contract being proposed doesn’t allow him to do other projects on the side.
There is a precedent for replacing somebody on the level of Shearer – South Park lost actress Mary Kay Bergman to suicide some years ago, and she did almost all the female voices. The show went on, but it took multiple performers to replace her. There is also a precedent for hardball negotiations on a Matt Groening show being carried out in public – anyone remember when the entire cast of Futurama was supposedly going to be replaced? Boo now if you like – just realize there’s still a chance it will turn into Boo-urns. Maybe by the time you read this.