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Harry Shearer is back on board for 'The Simpsons'

Shearer, who supplies the voice work for such 'Simpsons' characters as Mr. Burns and Smithers, has reportedly come back to the show. Following a contract dispute, the actor stated earlier this year that he'd be leaving.

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    Actor Harry Shearer poses at V&A Hollywood Costume Dinner at V&A Museum in London in 2012.
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"Mr. Burns" will be back. After negotiating a new deal, Harry Shearer is in fact returning to "The Simpsons," Variety has confirmed.

Under the new pact, Shearer will continue to lend his voice to the characters of Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Waylon Smithers, and Principal Skinner on the long-running Fox series through Seasons 27 and 28.

Shearer's return comes after a public contract dispute, ultimately resulting in Shearer tweeting, back in May, that he'd be exiting the hit animated series after 26 seasons. He said, "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work."

At the time, "Simpsons" exec producers Matt Groening, Al Jean, and James L. Brooks released a statement, confirming his departure, and adding that Shearer's roles would be recast, rather than his characters being killed off. "Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed," the trio stated. "The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard."

Brooks had also publicly appealed Shearer's decision to exit, suggesting that contract negotiations would continue. "Hey, we tried. We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk," the producer tweeted in May.

Shearer's return marks a full six-lead confirmation for Seasons 27 and 28, as all principal voice performers are now confirmed, including Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, and Hank Azaria. All have been in their roles since 1989.

"The Simpsons," recently renewed through 2017, returns to Fox on Sept. 27. The show centers on family patriarch Homer Simpson, his wife Marge, and their children Bart, Lisa, and Maggie as well as the other denizens of the Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield. A film based on the TV show and its characters was released in 2007.

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