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Harry Shearer: What may be behind that 'Simpsons' announcement

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(Read caption) Actor Harry Shearer poses at V&A Hollywood Costume Dinner at V&A Museum in London.

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Actor Harry Shearer, who voices multiple characters on the Fox animated sitcom “The Simpsons,” says he will not be coming back to the program. 

Mr. Shearer recently tweeted:

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The actor voices such characters as businessman Mr. Burns, his assistant Smithers, and the Simpsons’ neighbor Ned Flanders.

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According to the New York Times, “Simpsons” showrunner Al Jean said, “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.”

Shearer referenced in his tweet about his possible departure that he wanted to be available to work on other projects. In our current technological world, there are more and more projects and platforms in which actors can participate, and no one embodies that more than Shearer. He hosts the radio show “Le Show” (which is also a podcast), has written for the Huffington Post, and starred in the series “Nixon’s the One,” apart from appearing in films such as the 2006 movie “For Your Consideration” and 2003’s “A Mighty Wind,” both films directed by Christopher Guest. Previously he starred in such movies as “Godzilla” and “This Is Spinal Tap.”

It’s a good thing that people involved in the entertainment industry currently have so many mediums with which to experiment, and few people could have predicted that “The Simpsons” would run as long as it did. But Shearer has now been on the program since 1989, when it began.

“The Simpsons” centers on the family of the title, including husband Homer, wife Marge, and children Bart and Lisa, as well as the rest of the residents of the Simpsons’ town Springfield. As noted by the website Gawker, ratings for the show have slid in recent years. It’s currently airing its twenty-sixth season and co-stars actors Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria.