In a surprising twist to the “Community” will-it-or-won’t-it-get-canceled saga, the series’ creator and showrunner Dan Harmon was fired late Friday afternoon.
Harmon was fired by Sony Pictures Television, which produces the series for NBC. But both Sony and the network have butted heads with Harmon, who publicly feuded recently with cast member Chevy Chase.
The series, which has a fervent — if relatively small — audience, was on NBC’s chopping block all year. “Community” was put on a mid-season hiatus this season until NBC decided to bring it back. The fate of the fourth season of the series was up in the air, until it was renewed for a shortened, 13-episode fourth season, which could be its last.
In April, an expletive-laden voicemail from Chase to Harmon appeared online. Chase called Harmon “you goddamn asshole alcoholic, fat shit … I have nothing to say to you except you can suck my cock.”
Chase’s voicemail was reportedly a response to an incident that occurred at the season three wrap party, when Harmon said “fuck you” to the veteran comedian in front of his family. Harmon was said to be angry with Chase because he walked off the set earlier in shooting. Harmon later apologized on his blog, writing, “That was a dumb, unclassy, inconsiderate move on my part. I’m very sorry it’s reflecting poorly on the show.”
Harmon again took to his blog Saturday to react to his abrupt firing. Harmon said that the decision came to as much of a surprise to fans as it did to him, since he hasn’t been in contact with anyone from Sony or NBC.
“I do want to correct a couple points of spin, now that I’m free to do so…The important one is this quote from Bob Greenblatt in which he says he’s sure I’m going to be involved somehow…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.,” Harmon wrote.
He bitterly continued, “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.”
“Community” cast members tweeted their love to Harmon over the weekend. Joel McHale, who plays Jeff Winger, wrote, ”You are a true genius. You gave me the role of a lifetime & three of the best years of my life. Buying
In response her costar, Gillian Jacobs, who plays Britta Perry, wrote, ”I wholeheartedly agree with @joelmchale. I’m so grateful to @danharmon for my role, the show and everything else. Thank you, Dan. Thank you.”
Yvette Nicole Brown, who is Shirley on the show, tweeted, ”So many thoughts. So little room. I guess, ‘I heart you’ and ‘Thank you to INFINITY’ will have to do for now. #Community #Love.”