I’m sorry to say that Annie’s Boobs will not be taking over for Dan Harmon as showrunner of NBC’s Community next season. With Harmon’s impending departure, David Guarascio and Moses Port will take over the daily duties as both showrunners and executive producers. Rumor has it that Harmon, creator and executive producer for the first three seasons (which is almost half way to six seasons and a movie), may stay on as a consulting producer. Guarascio and Port have a long history of television writing and producing; they’re best known for the moderately long-running NBC series, Just Shoot Me and recently added Aliens in America, Happy Endings and El Jefe to their resume. It’s great that Guarascio and Port have experience in the industry and that should help with keeping the show afloat, but will the intangible allure of Community disappear with Harmon? Hit the jump for much, much more.
Update: Dan Harmon has responded to this sad news on his blog. Hit the jump for more.
The update is below our original story
THR reports that NBC Chairman, Bob Greenblatt commented on Harmon’s departure as showrunner, saying simply:
“I expect Dan’s voice to be a part of this show somehow. I’m just not sure if that means him running it day-to-day or consulting on it.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. For that, you’d have to go to cast member Joel McHale, who recently spoke to TV Line, saying:
“Dan’s the creator of the show, so to lose his voice would be pretty crazy. I pray that it works out well.”
As a fan of Community, this turn of events opens up a lot questions, concerns and downright anxieties about the future of the show. How much of the spark that has made it a cult series is/was due to Harmon? How big a part in the overall vibe of the cast did Harmon play? Will the show soldier on without a hitch now that it’s been picked up for another 13 episode season? Could Guarascio and Port actually steer it toward a mainstream audience in order to ensure its existence, but at the cost of alienating its core fans? The move to Friday nights definitely doesn’t help matters, but the shift in producers may hint at the network’s interest in broadening the show’s appeal. But would that be a good thing?
Of course, there’s the chance that Harmon was booted due to his much-publicized falling out with star Chevy Chase earlier this year or the circulating rumors that the behind-the-scenes make-up of the show was too disorganized for the likes of the studio execs. Is his departure warranted? Maybe, in the eyes of some. But I am extremely concerned that the lack of his overseeing the project will lead to a bland and simply unfunny ensemble comedy that panders to a broader demographic. I know the fans won’t stand for it, but will the cast? Will Troy (Donald Glover) and Abed (Danny Pudi) remain as chipper in the morning? Will Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) continue to pray, even though McHale’s prayers went unanswered? Will Britta (Gillian Jacobs) rise up against the evil corporation in protest or will the new producers pull a Britta instead? Maybe this is what Chang (Ken Jeong) wanted all along: discord, chaos, the darkest timeline.
For now, the Greendale Seven and the rest of the cast and crew have said farewell for this season with a three-episode finale that may well have been Harmon’s swan song. “I can’t count the reasons I should stay; one by one they all just fade away.” Feel free to vent your feelings in the comments section below.
Update: Dan Harmon took to his official blog to comment on getting fired from his show. Here’s an excerpt:
You may have read that I am technically “signed on,” by default, to be an executive consulting something or other – which is a relatively standard protective clause for a creator in my position. Guys like me can’t actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we’re still allowed to have a title on the things we create and “help out,” like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff.
However, if I actually chose to go to the office, I wouldn’t have any power there. Nobody would have to do anything I said, ever. I would be “offering” thoughts on other people’s scripts, not allowed to rewrite them, not allowed to ask anyone else to rewrite them, not allowed to say whether a single joke was funny or go near the edit bay, etc. It’s….not really the way the previous episodes got done. I was what you might call a….hands on producer. Are my….periods giving this enough….pointedness? I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of Community without me, but I am definitely saying that you can’t make my version of it unless I have the option of saying “it has to be like this or I quit” roughly 8 times a day.
The same contract also gives me the same salary and title if I spend all day masturbating and playing Prototype 2. And before you ask yourself what you would do in my situation: buy Prototype 2. It’s fucking great.
Because Prototype 2 is great, and because nobody called me, and then started hiring people to run the show, I had my assistant start packing up my office days ago. I’m sorry. I’m not saying seasons 1, 2 and 3 were my definition of perfect television, I’m just saying that whatever they’re going to do for season 4, they’re aiming to do without my help. So do not believe anyone that tells you on Monday that I quit or diminished my role so I could spend more time with my loved ones, or that I negotiated and we couldn’t come to an agreement, etc. It couldn’t be less true because, just to make this clear, literally nobody called me. Also don’t believe anyone that says I have sex with animals. And if there’s a photo of me doing it with an animal – I’m not saying one exists, I’m just saying, if one surfaces – it’s a fake. Look at the shadow. Why would it be in front of the giraffe if the sun is behind the jeep?
Where was I? Oh yeah. I’m not running Community for season 4. They replaced me. Them’s the facts.