Fans, cast and crew of NBC’s cult hit show COMMUNITY had been on the edges of their respective seats, hoping the show would be renewed for a fourth season. Now that it’s a reality, news broke which could leave the show irreparably damaged.

Dan Harmon, the show’s creator, has been fired by NBC.

In more specific terms, his contract was not renewed by the network to remain head of the show, but the way Harmon is reportedly being treated, it’s essentially a firing.

How good is the source? How about Harmon himself, who took to his tumblr blog to give us an insight into what happened and his take on the situation.

How did he find out?

“A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know.  Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice – actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because they once created a show and cast my good friend Jeff Davis on it, so how bad can they be.

Why’d Sony want me gone?  I can’t answer that because I’ve been in as much contact with them as you have.  They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business. “

That’s right, a message on his phone. Tasteful, right? Sure, maybe COMMUNITY didn’t get BIG BANG THEORY ratings, but it’s certainly help make NBC a cooler network again, in a time where people are starting to tune out on The Office and the once lauded 30 Rock and Parks & Rec are visibly in steep decline.

But what of Harmon’s future involvement in the project? Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, recently stated “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.”

That… sounds decent… but then you hear Dan Harmon’s side of the story:

“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.  I’m not saying it’s wrong for him to have bigger fish to fry, I’m just saying, NBC is not a credible source of All News Dan Harmon.

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.”

Following the firing, members of the cast have spoken out through Twitter:

@joelmchale – “@danharmon you are a true genius. You gave me the role of a lifetime & three of the best years of my life. Buying #Prototype2 today.”

@alisonbrie – “I’m in creative debt to @danharmon who let us ride the coattails of his integrity, pushing boundaries & making f’ing awesome tv. Thanks Dan.”

@GillianJacobs – “I wholeheartedly agree with @joelmchale. I’m so grateful to @danharmon for my role, the show and everything else. Thank you, Dan. Thank you.”

@yvettenbrown – “@danharmon So many thoughts. So little room. I guess, “I heart you” and “Thank you to INFINITY” will have to do for now. #Community #Love

@RashisTVUgly (Jim Rash – Dean Pelton) – “I owe the last 3 amazing years 2 Dan Harmon’s brain. Bless ur dementedly awesome brain, @danharmon. U r #Community.”

@dannypudi (Abed) – “I’m in Amsterdam trying to avoid news. Thank you @danharmon for your imagination. You gave us Community and you gave me a beautiful gift.”

Why no word from Chevy Chase? Because he’s likely a large part of the reason Dan Harmon got fired. Not the whole reason, mind you, because the blow ups between Harmon and the network undoubtedly had their effect.

COMMUNITY is scheduled for 13 episodes next season (22 episodes in each of the prior three seasons), and is airing in a new timeslot Friday nights at 8:30. The new helmers of the show are David Guarascio and Moses Port. Smart and under-appreciated comedy is something Guarascio and Port are known for, with ALIENS IN AMERICA and HAPPY ENDINGS to their credit.

He will be missed...

Sources:

Dan Harmon’s Tumblr

TV Guide


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