Fans of The Simpsons have been told Harry Shearer's characters including Ned Flanders and Montgomery Burns will NOT be "killed off".Cartoon honcho Al Jean said "we do not plan to 'kill off' his characters" before taking a swipe at the veteran voice actor over leaving the show.
When long-serving cast members Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace died, the characters they voiced including Troy Mc Lure, Lionel Hutz and Edna Krabappel all disappeared.
What's more, while The Simpsons star Shearer sensationally quit the show after 26 seasons, he's reportedly still in talks for a possible return.
Which will no doubt be a snippet of hope for all those loyal fans.
Shearer, 71, who also voices Waylon Smithers, Otto and Principle Skinner , among other Springfield favourites, announced the sad news on Twitter, posting: "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work (sic)” His message suggested that his departure was over a contract dispute.
However now executive producer of the show James L.
Brooks has sparked hope, as he tweeted: "Hey, we tried. Harry, no kidding, let's talk." Sources reportedly added to TMZ: "It was difficult for him not to come back. If there's a way to work this out and continue to have a career in addition to The Simpsons he would be delighted." Shearer, who has been with the show since it started in 1989, wrote that producer James L.Brooks' lawyer delivered the news: "'Harry will not be part of it, wish him the best.'" Later on Wednesday, he tweeted a message to Simpsons fans, thanking them for their support over the years.Fox recently renewed the animated series for two more seasons through 2017 and the rest of the voice cast recently signed two-year extensions, report Variety.It is said that the cast have signed up for seasons 27 and 28, with Shearer being the only one to pull out. [ Chorus ] # The Simpsons # [ Bell Ringing ] [ Whistle Blowing ] [ Beeping ] [Jazzy Solo ] [ Beeping ] [ Tires Screeching ] D'oh! [ Screams ] - [ Electricity Crackling ] - [ Grunting, Groaning ] Now remember.