Say what you will about about supporters of the woefully rated NBC comedy Community; but even those of us who find their particular style of fanboydom obnoxious are forced to recognize and appreciate their dedication. Though Community fans may be small in numbers, the volume of their voices can be deafening. They screamed and cried and stomped their feet and held their breath until their beloved show was renewed for a fourth season. And renewed it was. However the renewal comes with a hefty price tag. The Greendale Seven might be coming back for 13 more episodes, but Community creator and showrunner Dan Harmon will not be joining them. He has been removed from his position by NBC and Sony Pictures Television, the show's majority owner.
Last week, Bob Greenblatt, NBC's entertainment chairman, hinted at the possibility that Harmom might not return as showrunner for Community's fourth (and possibly last) season. "The network announced Sunday that the series will move from Thursdays to Fridays. Greenblatt says that while he expects Harmon to remain a creative force on the show -- perhaps as a consultant -- he did not know yet whether he would remain in charge of it. He said talks are underway," The Wrap reported last week.
This morning, Dan took his personal blog, Kurt Sutter-style, to confirm the rumors that he is out as Community's showrunner and to debunk some of what he considers to be misinformation surrounding his departure.
"Bob Greenblatt...says he’s sure I’m going to be involved somehow, something like that. That’s a misquote. I think he meant to say he’s sure cookies are yummy, because he’s never called me once in the entire duration of his employment at NBC. He didn’t call me to say he was starting to work there, he didn’t call me to say I was no longer working there and he definitely didn’t call to ask if I was going to be involved," the blog post says. "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," he continues.
The New York Times and other sources are reporting that Harmon will be replaced by the two-headed showrunning monster of David Guarascio and Moses Port. Guarascio and Port were a writers on Mad About You and co-produced shows such as Just Shoot Me and Happy Endings. On his blog, Harmon called his replacements "two seasoned fellows that...are quite nice." However, just because Guarascio and Port are "seasoned" and "quite nice" doesn't mean that Harmon believes they (or anyone else, I would presume) can successfully run Harmon's show.
"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," Harmon says.
It not yet clear why NBC and Sony decided to oust Harmon. Harmon's built a reputation of being a bit difficult to work with and has been involved in an ongoing public spat with Community star Chevy Chase. (To be fair, Chase has a reputation of being the HARDEST to work with that spans four decades).Throughout the Chase saga, it was speculated that Chevy would possibly leave the show, but I don't recall anyone suggesting that Harmon would be the one to get the boot.
I'd love to hear reactions from Community mega-fans. Does this news come as a huge shock, or was the writing on the wall and I just failed to see it? Will you continue to watch the show without the presence of Harmon guiding the ship behind the scenes? Do you anticipate a significant change in the quality of the product. Please, leave a comments with your thoughts and reactions.