CBS DETROIT – Is it time for America’s favorite saffron-skinned cartoon family to retire?

A part of “The Simpsons” since the show premiered in 1989, actor Harry Shearer — who voiced critical characters Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders, as well as Principal Skinner, Rev. Lovejoy and Kent Brockman — announced on Twitter Thursday that he’s leaving the cast due to a contract dispute.

On Twitter, too, showrunner Al Jean confirmed the news — making it clear, though, that Shearer’s exit won’t be stopping “The Simpsons.”

“Harry Shearer was offered the same deal the rest of the cast accepted, and passed. The show will go on and we wish him well. Maggie took it hard. We do not plan to kill off characters like Burns and Flanders but will recast with the finest voiceover talent available,” Jean expounded in a statement to the New York Times.

That said, this leaves some pondering: With the program now in its 26th season — and already renewed for two more — is it perhaps a sign it’s about time that “The Simpsons” wrap it up?

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