Community Loses Creator Dan Harmon

By Tim Surette

May 19, 2012

Just a day after Community's fantastic three-episode finale-ganza, bad news has befallen the comedy: Creator and showrunner Dan Harmon will not be back for Season 4. Rumors have been swirling about Harmon's possible future (or lack thereof) with the show, but they just didn't seem real because who would leave a job like that? The cult comedy was renewed after a massive fan outcry, so why wouldn't its creator be jumping on board?

We may never have the answer to that question. UPDATE: Read Harmon's side of the story here—he says he didn't know about NBC's decision, and that he was fired. Well, that's a bummer. When will we get an explanation from NBC and Sony?

It's amazing that Harmon's vision lasted as long as it did, if you ask me. I love Community and think that it should be mandated by the FDA as a daily supplement, but even I understand that it's a miracle the show has been on television for three years. Behind the scenes, I'm sure there was a lot of pressure from NBC to make it appeal to a broader audience, but what's the point in sticking around for a diluted version of your vision? What's weird is, we saw Dan Harmon's vision over the course of the first three seasons.

Does Dan Harmon leaving suck? Yes, it does. But is it also awesome that he stayed on for three seasons? Yes, it is. Some people just aren't cut out for network B.S.

Regardless, here's the good news—and I promise you it's good news, even though most of you will treat it like a stepfather situation: Moses Port and David Guarascio will step in as showrunners. A lot of you might not know those names, but they are the guys behind one of my favorite comedies of the last decade, The CW's vastly underrated Aliens in America (seriously, that show had more heart than a cardiologist convention). Aliens in America and Community have a lot in common in their basic tone, which is "legitimate heartwarming comedy." Just last week, Port and Guarascio were behind the Fox pilot El Jefe, and they've served as writer/consultants on Happy Endings. Honestly, I've been dying to see their next project, and if I could choose anyone to take over, it would probably be these guys. That's the good news.

The bad news? Harmon and his infinite well of absurd genius are gone. Same goes for Harmon's fellow executive producers Neil Goldman and Garret Donovan, who've left to run the show at Fox's very un-Community-esque Ben and Kate. But things could be worse. Will Community be different in Season 4? Maybe. Well, probably. But honestly, this news isn't the series' be-all-end-all. There are a lot of people calling this situation the end of Community, but that's just doomsday cynicism. Community's characters and tone are fixed; hopefully the new regime knows what to do.

Oh, and please don't think this happened because of Chevy Chase, because it didn't.

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

  • Comments (111)
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  • AhmedNabil1 May 21, 2012

    #Communityisdead ='(

  • Shreela May 21, 2012

    Way to treat someone that made you $, Bozos!

  • kanniballl May 21, 2012

    Unfortunately, in the network's eyes... if it isn't a #1 hit then it's hurting them. And as awesome as Community is, the ratings aren't that great (a real niche market).

    So in the Networks eyes, they probably felt they did him a FAVOR by keeping him on as long as they did. Like he was a charity case or something, airing his stuff without maximum profit.

  • heyboova May 21, 2012

    There's so much talent on community, it's hard to think it could ever be bad, but with Harmon gone and both his executive producers moving to other projects, I don't see how we will get the same insane awesomeness.

  • joostin_cdn May 21, 2012

    If the writer's just write as if in the heads of Troy & Abed, all will be fine.

  • jkpop_07 May 21, 2012

    After reading Dan Harmons full account of these events I am heartbroken! This is an artists worst nightmare come true! You'd think NBC would LEARN from their mistakes *cough* Leno/O'Brian *cough*

  • kanniballl May 21, 2012

    I don't think its the WORST nightmare... it really depends on what the new show-runners do to Community now that he's gone.

    If they TRY to keep it a quirky comedy then it might not be that bad in his eyes.

    But if they try to turn it into a cookie-cutter sitcom with a laugh track, then Dan might feel like swallowing a bullet.

  • yehielc May 21, 2012

    60 seasons and a movie each year!

  • Typhoon859 May 21, 2012

    Wait what?... How can the creator of a show be fired? That's ridiculous... WHAT?!... Am I missing something?

  • XY May 21, 2012

    Anyone can be fired, except for Mr. $

    Sad but true.

  • ShreeyaJayara May 20, 2012

    Bye darkest timeline! I'm going to my dreamatoruim to live in a world where community lasts for 60 seasons and a movie!

  • saskiaChairun May 20, 2012

    not cool, NBC. NOT COOL.

  • AdityaKartikaP May 20, 2012

    Shortened season and no original showrunner ? Uh-oh......

  • The_Critic833 May 20, 2012

    lol I broke this before you did =P +10 points for me, to bad this is sad day for community, btw Co-Producer and writer Chris Mckenna is also out according to his twitter.

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