It's been a weekend of deposed sitcom showrunners. First, it was announced Friday night that Dan Harmon would no longer serve as showrunner on Community, a show he created. It's since been announced that he's not the only showrunner losing control of his own show: Bill Lawrence will no longer be serving as showrunner for the comedy series Cougar Town.
According to Deadline, Lawrence instead will be serving as Consulting Producer on the series, a caveat of part of his "a rich new overall deal" with Warner Bros. Television. The new contract, which he signed last year, allowed him to continue on as showrunner on Cougar Town for its third season, but not beyond.
It was recently announced that Cougar Town would be moving to TBS for its fourth season, leaving original network ABC of its own volition in an attempt to gain more recognition as part of TBS's new growing comedy lineup. While TBS is owned by Warner Bros. TV, it appears that Lawrence is still contractually restricted from returning to his duties as showrunner.
Lawrence will remain with Cougar Town as a "full-time consultant," according to Deadline. A complete split with the show would be almost an impossibility for Lawrence, considering that his wife, Christa Miller, is one of the show's stars.
Cougar Town focuses on recently divorced Jules Cobb (Courteney Cox), a woman in her forties struggling to come to terms with her new chapter in life, comedically facing her challenges along with her son, ex-husband, and network of wine-loving friends.
No new showrunner has been announced as a replacement for Lawrence, but we'll keep you posted for when a new one (or new ones, if the show follows in Community's footsteps) is selected.
Cougar Town will return for its fourth season of fifteen episodes on TBS in 2013.