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The Simpsons won't lose Flanders, Smithers, and Mr. Burns' voice actor next season after all

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Reports that Harry Shearer would be leaving the cast of The Simpsons at the end of the show's 26th season appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

Well, either that or the actor knew exactly what he was doing when he made sure to announce his exit from the show on Twitter in May. At the time, he seemed to attribute his break with the show to his desire to retain "the freedom to do other work," though remained vague on the details.

But from that breaking point, Shearer and Simpsons executive producers appear to have slowly come to a consensus, as detailed by Entertainment Weekly, which means that his large roster of characters (including Reverend Lovejoy, Principle Skinner, Ned Flanders and, of course, Smithers and Mr. Burns) will not have to be killed off or recast. In fact, Shearer and the show's other five core cast members — Dan Castellaneta, Yeardley Smith, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, and Hank Azaria — have all signed a new deal that will keep them on board through seasons 27 and 28, with an option for 29 and 30, should Fox Television choose to extend The Simpsons for another two seasons beyond what they've already announced.

Production on season 27 has already begun, and the first episode will premiere on Sept. 27.