Harry Shearer, Voice of Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns, Is Leaving "The Simpsons" | NBC 10 Philadelphia

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Harry Shearer, Voice of Ned Flanders and Mr. Burns, Is Leaving "The Simpsons"

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    Illustration/Getty Images; FOX
    Harry Shearer, the voice of Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders from "The Simpsons," pictured here in this photo illustration, is leaving the show.

    Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders may never sound quite the same.

    That's because voice actor Harry Shearer, the real-life man behind the iconic "Simpsons" characters, is leaving the show after 26 seasons.

    He tweeted the news early Thursday morning, suggesting a contract dispute may have been behind his departure from TV's longest-running show.

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    "This because I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work," he said. "Thanks, Simpsons fans, for your support."

    The long-time animated series was just recently renewed for another two seasons. The rest of the cast signed contract extensions, and production on season 27 has begun without Shearer, Variety reported.