The news broke late on Wednesday (13May15) after Shearer took to Twitter to tell fans his decision "wasn't about money" but he needed more freedom to take on other projects.

Meanwhile, producers were said to be looking to recast the regular characters, like Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner, which the Spinal Tap star has been voicing since 1989.

But producer Al Jean has assured fans "the show will go on", and he hasn't given up on luring Shearer back, adding, "never say never".

Insiders tell that Shearer and the producers of The Simpsons still want to reach a deal, and the show's executive producer James L. Brooks has tweeted a reply to concerned fans, stating, "Hey, we tried. We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk."