Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ridley Scott Says 'Exodus' Would Never Get Financed Starring "Mohammad So-and-So From Such-And-Such” Ridley Scott Says 'Exodus' Would Never Get Financed Starring "Mohammad So-and-So From Such-And-Such” James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Sequels Will Make You "Sh*t Yourself With Your Mouth Wide Open” James Cameron Says 'Avatar' Sequels Will Make You "Sh*t Yourself With Your Mouth Wide Open” Welcome Back To The Park: The First Trailer For 'Jurassic World' Is Here Welcome Back To The Park: The First Trailer For 'Jurassic World' Is Here Watch: 2-Hour 'Deleted Magic' Explores Deleted Scenes & Alternate Footage From The Original 'Star Wars' Trilogy Watch: 2-Hour 'Deleted Magic' Explores Deleted Scenes & Alternate Footage From The Original 'Star Wars' Trilogy New Character And Plot Details Emerge For 'True Detective' Season 2 As More Cast Members Confirmed New Character And Plot Details Emerge For 'True Detective' Season 2 As More Cast Members Confirmed James Gunn Says Shared Universe Model Is "Flawed," Plus Listen To "Awesome Mixtape Volume Zero" For 'Guardians' James Gunn Says Shared Universe Model Is "Flawed," Plus Listen To "Awesome Mixtape Volume Zero" For 'Guardians' 'Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens' Trailer Hits Theaters This Friday 'Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens' Trailer Hits Theaters This Friday Christian Bale Admits He Was Initially "Jealous" When Ben Affleck Was Cast As Batman Christian Bale Admits He Was Initially "Jealous" When Ben Affleck Was Cast As Batman Watch: First Trailer For Thomas Vinterberg's 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Watch: First Trailer For Thomas Vinterberg's 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... SXSW Review: Spierig Brothers 'Predestination'  Starring Ethan Hawke SXSW Review: Spierig Brothers 'Predestination' Starring Ethan Hawke From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

The Darkest Timeline: Sony TV Fire Dan Harmon As Showrunner Of 'Community'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist May 19, 2012 at 10:28AM

The writing's been on the wall for a while, but late last night, only 24 hours after the third season of NBC's beloved, if poorly-rated sitcom "Community" came to a close, Sony Pictures Television decided to break the hearts of the show's devoted fanbase, by announcing (per the AV Club, among others) that Dan Harmon, creator of the comedy, wouldn't be returning as showrunner for the recently-recommissioned fourth season of the show, and that he would be replaced by David Guarascio and Moses Port, who've most recently looked after ABC's show "Happy Endings."
12
Dan Harmon Community

The writing's been on the wall for a while, but late last night, only 24 hours after the third season of NBC's beloved, if poorly-rated sitcom "Community" came to a close, Sony Pictures Television decided to break the hearts of the show's devoted fanbase, by announcing (per the AV Club, among others) that Dan Harmon, creator of the comedy, won't be returning as showrunner for the recently-recommissioned fourth season of the show. Instead he'll be replaced by David Guarascio and Moses Port, who've most recently looked after ABC's show "Happy Endings."

The show stars Joel McHale, Chevy Chase,Alison Brie, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown as seven messed-up individuals who form a study group at a community college (with Ken Jeong and Jim Rash as authority figures), but under Harmon's leadership, the show has become a gloriously weird concoction of genres and stylistic experiments (in the third season alone, we had a musical, a show displaying seven alternate timelines for the same event, a collection of horror stories, mock-doc homages to Eleanor Coppola's "Hearts of Darkness" and Ken Burns' "Civil War," a "Law & Order" parody, a fake clip-show, a heist tale and an animated nod to 8-bit video games, among others) that was consistently hilarious and, more often than not, contained a great big heart, with more love for, and understanding of, its characters than virtually any other show on television. 

While it's never crossed over to the mainstream, NBC recommissioned the show a couple of weeks back for a 13-episode fourth season, and fans celebrated heartily. But as it turns out, that recommission came at a price: Harmon's one-year contract was up, and has not been renewed. And to hear the writer/producer's side of the tale, the decision was far from mutual.

He's issued a statement on his Tumblr that indicates that the first he learnt of his replacement was after the announcement had been made public, and that Sony had in fact not been in any communication with him since the show was picked up for its fourth season. Harmon wrote "They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business.  'Community' is their property, I only own ten percent of it, and I kind of don’t want to hear what their complaints are because I’m sure it would hurt my feelings even more now that I’d be listening for free." And while he has the contractual role of 'consulting producer,' Harmon indicates he has no intention of consulting on the show from now on out, given that he'd have little to no power.

Harmon has a reputation for being quote-unquote difficult to work with. He left "The Sarah Silverman Programme," which he co-created, after a personality clash with his star, has seen a high turnover of writing staff on the series, and has publicly feuded with star Chevy Chase of late. Harmon has admitted in podcasts that his desire to rewrite every script so that they can be the best they can be, keeping writing staff in overnight, and late delivery of said scripts, has led to cost overruns on the show, and we suspect that that, above anything else, is what's led to his replacement. The same thing caused Aaron Sorkin to be fired from "The West Wing," although that was exacerbated by Sorkin's drug problems.

But you know who else is difficult to work with? Anyone who's worth working with. Harmon's uncompromising nature seems to come because he cares so fucking much about making the show as good as it can be. He's not doing it to be a dick, he's doing it to make it excellent. And more crucially, his voice is entirely central to the show, and with producers Neil Goldman & Garret Donovan, directors the Russo Brothers and longest-serving writer Chris McKenna all exiting the show (with more sure to follow), what we'll be seeing when it returns in the fall might be "Community," but it won't really be "Community." We wish Guarascio & Port well and all ("Happy Endings" has developed into a very funny little show), but they'll have performed a miracle if they can keep the show to its high standards of late.

All that being said, we're sure this isn't the last we'll see of Harmon: Adult Swim have ordered a pilot called "Rick & Morty," co-created by Harmon and Justin Roiland. And one only has to look at Sorkin's Oscar-winning success on "The Social Network," or Joss Whedon, who's gone from embattled creator of low-rated TV shows to the man behind one of the most successful movies of all time in "The Avengers," to see how people like Harmon can flourish on the big screen. More than anything else, we're glad we had three exceptional seasons of television, and we can't wait to see what comes out of Harmon's mind next.

This article is related to: Dan Harmon, Community


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates