The American Cinematheque Presents "In Kovacsland: A Tribute To Ernie Kovacs"After a very public contract dispute, "The Simpsons" star Harry Shearer will be back for the show's 27th season.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Shearer has just inked a deal to revive his large, beloved cast of characters -- including Mr. Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, and many more -- for the next season, and beyond. The site writes:

Shearer has signed the same contract as did the other five primary voice actors—Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria—keeping the show's original cast fully intact, EW has learned. These deals, which run for four seasons (including a network option for seasons 29 and 30), are estimated at more than $300,000 per episode. Fox recently renewed The Simpsons for a 27th and 28th season, which will bring its episode tally to 625.

Shearer caused a firestorm back in May when he announced on Twitter that he was leaving the long-running animated program. The actor had indicated that he would not return to the show because he was being kept from pursuing outside projects, though "Simpsons" producer Al Jean disputed that claim. According to an Entertainment Weekly report from the time, Shearer's packed scheduled was the real culprit, with the actor allegedly refusing to record his dialogue in a timely manner.

The plan had been to replace Shearer with other voice actors, rather than kill off his trove of characters, but Jean had indicated that he hoped the actor would reconsider and return to the show. EW reports that while negotiations with Shearer continued, production on season 27 of the show did indeed begin without the actor, though the show "already had seven holdover episodes from last season in the can, and those include Shearer's voices."

"Shearer's deal was completed in enough time to avoid [recasting the roles]," EW reports, "and his temporary absence behind the scenes will not be significantly felt on the new season."

We're glad that Shearer finally agreed to return, and that "The Simpsons" will both look and sound the same when it returns this fall. Season 27 is set to premiere on September 27 on Fox.

[via: Entertainment Weekly]

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