D’Oh! Founding Cast Member Harry Shearer Is Leaving The Simpsons

Shearer Simpsons

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Yikes. Not since Phil Hartman and Marcia Wallace left us far too soon has a Simpsons team shakeup completely blindsided us. Revealing his unceremonious exit in a couple of tweets, Harry Shearer announced he and his voice will soon be leaving the town of Springfield.

As Shearer told Marc Maron on his WTF podcast, the actor has had a shaky past with FOX when it came to compensation. He became a vocal leader of the cast’s contract disputes with the studio and constantly fought for more pay and a cut of the franchise’s vast merchandise revenue. And after 26 seasons, it finally came to a head as he’s reportedly walking away from a $14 million deal. Whether or not you believe the actors deserve that amount of money, nobody can argue that the cast of voice actors haven’t delivered some of the most memorable performances of the 20th century.

Showrunner Al Jean confirmed Shearer’s departure with HitFix’s Alan Sepinwall. “Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted and passed,” Jean said. “We wish him well but the show will go on. Maggie took it hard.”

But unlike Hartman and Wallace’s characters who were gracefully led to pasture, The Simpsons couldn’t possibly continue without the characters that Shearer voices — which include Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, Kent Brockman, Principal Skinner, Reverend Lovejoy, Dr. Hibbert, among many others. And Jean asserted that those beloved Springfieldians will not go away. “Yes, Burns and Flanders will not die. They are great characters and will continue.”

It will certainly feel different without Shearer’s iconic baritone, but some voice actor (or actors) is about to pick up the hefty per-episode paycheck that Shearer rejected.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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