The Simp­sons’ crew were ready for the show to go on even if Harry Shearer wasn’t at first – but his change of heart means he’s back

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - AN­DREW FENTON

Simp­sons showrun­ner Al Jean claims that not only would the lon­grun­ning se­ries have sur­vived the loss of voice ac­tor Harry Shearer – they ac­tu­ally made more than a third of the cur­rent sea­son with­out him.

Shearer, the voice be­hind Mr Burns, Ned Flan­ders, Prin­ci­pal Skin­ner and Kent Brock­man, walked ear­lier this year in a stand­off over con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Jean isn’t en­tirely sure why: there was never any ques­tion of of­fer­ing him more money than the other five main cast mem­bers, and the voice ac­tor’s con­cern about “the free­dom to do other work” did not square with the fact he can record his di­a­logue over the in­ter­net.

Jean claims the show was con­trac­tu­ally bound to go on.

“We would have had to re­place him if he didn’t sign.

“There was never even a time where there was a choice whether or not to do the show.”

In the end eight episodes were recorded with­out Shearer. Af­ter he re­lented, they were able to go back and add his char­ac­ters and voices to the fin­ished pro­grams.

“It’s funny be­cause I don’t think if you watch the shows you’ll even no­tice any ab­sence,” he says, adding they al­ways wanted Shearer back. “It was al­ways our pref­er­ence to sign him and we never read any­body (else for the role).”

The Simp­sons’

char­ac­ters such as Krusty the Clown will re­turn on Eleven tonight.

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