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Excellent ... Harry Shearer is returning to 'The Simpsons' after all

Harry Shearer is headed back to Springfield, after all.

The Emmy-award winning voice actor, who has voiced the maniacal Montgomery Burns and the all-too-polite Ned Flanders on "The Simpsons" for more than 20 years, has signed a new contract with Fox, according to a Fox statement. 

Shearer, whose other famous roles include Burns' lackey, Waylon Smithers; the oft-perplexed Dr. Julius Hibbert; and Springfield Elementary school Principal Seymour Skinner, had announced his exit from the show in May. 

In a series of tweets in May, Shearer said he wanted the "freedom to do other work." Simpsons' executive producer Al Jean said at the time that Shearer's iconic roles would be recast if he did not return to the show.

Shearer's initial departure was not the first time the show's famed voice actors have seemed to butt heads with Fox. In 2011, a rancorous pay dispute led to a 30% pay cut for Shearer and the others, although they still earned a reported $300,000 per episode. That made them among the best-compensated actors on TV.

Times staff writer Scott Collins contributed to this report.

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