Mr Smithers is not leaving The Simpsons

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Waylon Smithers will not be leaving The Simpsons – after the character’s voice actor signed a last-minute deal to return to the animated show.

Harry Shearer, who voices a number of iconic characters on the animated show, previously confirmed his plans to leave after 26 seasons on the show, following the breakdown of contract negotiations in May.

The actor voices both Mr Smithers and his boss Mr Burns – with whom Mr Smithers is usually suggested to be in love with.

He also plays a raft of other characters, including Principal Skinner, Ned Flanders, Reverend Lovejoy, Kent Brockman, and Doctor Hibbert.

However, Shearer has now signed on to return to the show after all – with Fox confirming that “all principal cast members” will return.

The voice actor will reportedly earn a massive $300,000 per episode, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The show’s producers had previously threatened to re-cast Mr Shearer’s most important characters if he left.

Mr Smithers’ sexuality has long been a source of comedy on the show, and he has made a number of lists as one of the most famous gay TV characters.

However, as the series grew other characters have come out – with Marge’s sister Patty coming out as a lesbian in 2005, and Duffman outed as gay in 2008.

Simpsons co-creator Sam Simon, who passed away in March, notoriously paid £5,000 to rescue a ‘gay’ bull from the slaughter last year.