Monday, May 21st, 2012

Dan Harmon Is No Longer Involved with 'Community'

Late Friday night, Vulture reported that Sony Television (the company that produces Community) had hired David Guarascio and Moses Port (previously of Happy Endings) as the new showrunners of Community, leaving Dan Harmon with a diminished role. Their justification was partially about creative differences (Sony and NBC wanted Community to at least try to appeal to more people) and partially about what it was like working with Harmon. A person close to the show explained, "Dan is brilliant at ideas, but he's terrible at [management]." Specifically, Harmon is given a lot of the blame for much of Community's writing and production staff turnover. The flipside of course is that Harmon was the mad genius responsible for the show's ambition, tone, and je ne sais quoi.

Sony's hope was to have Harmon return as a writer and/or consulting producer; however, after Harmon posted his response on Saturday, it was pretty clear that that wasn't going to happen. Harmon explained that Sony hasn't spoken to him since the season 4 pick-up last week and, partly because of that slighting, he has no intention to return to the show with a smaller role. This excerpt gets to the heart of it:

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.

Dan Harmon is such a large part of what makes Community what it is so it's a shame and it sucks and it was very much just a business decision for Sony and NBC.

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  • Slutface

    This is sad, but it makes me think he must be a REALLY big pain in the ass to work with. It'll be interesting to see where the show goes from here. I think it'll go back to the way it was the first season. 

  • JoshUng

    I know you guys don't work on the site on weekends, but I had to learn the news on Kotaku, on KOTAKU! C'mon man!

    Kidding, but in seriousness, on the bright side, I think by getting people from Happy Endings, the executives at least when in the right direction with the replacement.  If it were somebody from Rules of Engagement, I'd be a lot more upset.

  • http://twitter.com/beermestrength beermestrength

    I was off the grid most of Friday so I didn't hear about this until I read Harmon's blog post Saturday morning…and my heart just sank. Community will never be the same without Harmon, granted, but he was not the only voice on that show. There are still plenty of great writers involved that know these character's voices. However, if Sony starts hack 'n slashing their contracts as well, then we're all just fucked.

    Either way, Harmon gave us three great and consistent season's of hilarious TV and Sony can't take that away from us…unless they decide to pull production on the DVDs. Speaking of which, I cannot wait to hear what Harmon has to say on the commentary for the season 3 DVD now that he doesn't have anyone to answer to!

  • FnyFrm

    Team Chevy

  • http://twitter.com/OneOfManyIans Ian

    It will still be Community, in the same way the Superman movies were still Superman after Richard Donner was fired. But when I want to watch a Superman movie, I don't pick part 3 or 4.

  • http://vidaweek.tumblr.com Jason Merrin

    I understand people say he's difficult to work with, but the end result is the same. It won't be Community without Dan Harmon. I hope it still ends up being watchable…