Dan Harmon has been fired as showrunner of NBC's comedy series Community. TV Guide broke the news last night that Harmon was being replaced by Just Shoot Me! alums Moses Port and David Guarascio, with former executive producer Harmon being demoted to consulting producer.
The decision is a highly controversial one: Sony, who owns.. the show, is looking to make Community appeal to a "broader" audience, which typically means "dumber." Even the stars of the show aren't too happy: "Dan's the creator of the show, the voice of the show, so I don't know how that would work without him," star Joel McHale shared.
The decision was likely in part precipitated by Harmon's public feud with star Chevy Chase, which got very ugly last month when Harmon publicly released a profane voicemail Chase had sent him. Following the news of Harmon's firing, LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof sounded off on Twitter, noting, "Not my business, but despite my love and support for COMMUNITY, it needs to be said that there IS a behavioral line that cannot be crossed." However, "If
@danharmon kickstarted an ALT season and changed names to avoid lawsuits (Froy, Babed, Schmeendale, etc.) I would SO fund that shit," Lindelof added.
But what about Harmon himself? Turns out, he wasn't aware of his firing until after everyone else. In a blog entry titled "HEY, DID I MISS SOMETHING?" Harmon wrote, "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... I can’t answer [why] 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. 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."
Comparing Sony to bullies from his childhood, Harmon wrote, "The friends my Mom warned me about are bigger now, and older, bloodying my nose with old world numbers, and old world tactics, like, oh, I don’t know, sending out press releases to TV Guide at 7pm on a Friday."
So how involved will Harmon be with the show's upcoming fourth season? Not at all, it seems. '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 insisted, writing instead that he would be spending his time at home all day playing video games and still making the same amount of money.
You can read Harmon's entire letter here, but I've gotta admit, it might make you just a teensy bit mad at Sony.
In any case, Community has been renewed for a fourth season of thirteen episodes, which will air sometime during the next television season.