Why did the creators/screenwriters of The Simpsons decide that Maude Flanders had to die?
Because the actress that voiced her, Maggie Roswell, had a pay dispute with Fox which ended with her quitting. A different actress was hired to voice the other more minor characters she originally voiced until the dispute ended a few years later.
The dispute is discussed in detail at the above wiki link (and other sites).
2I find it interesting they killed off Maude, and found a replacement for her other characters in the meantime. Really wonder why the actress that filled in for the others couldn't do Maude as well, or why they couldn't find another voice actress to do Maude.– MattDApr 5, 2015 at 4:13
2@MattD: I don't think anyone else sounds very much like Maggie Roswell; I think the producers felt that having Maude Flanders' voice change for no apparent reason would be unacceptably distracting, but they could minimize the usage of other characters voiced by Maggie Rockwell and accept the voice mismatch in cases where it would be unavoidable (killing off all the characters voiced by Maggie Roswell would probably have stretched credulity).– supercatJun 21, 2015 at 23:16
1And killing a character is a good way to make some headlines for a show.– BCdotWEBMar 24, 2016 at 12:11
2They should have just given her a throat disease to explain the change in voice. But no, they have to kick poor Ned. Actually, the writers and producers probably felt it was a good excuse to give Ned the spotlight instead of him being just a joke. Mar 24, 2016 at 14:23
2It kinda feels like a warning to the other voice actors.– stu42jNov 16, 2018 at 2:44