Community Shake-Up: Dan Harmon Replaced as Showrunner - To 'Broaden' the Show's Appeal?

The Greendale Gang is getting brand-new leadership.

David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me, Aliens in America) are joining NBC’s Community as exec producers/showrunners, TVLine has confirmed. The duo will replace series creator Dan Harmon, who will now serve as a consulting producer — which, Harmon suggests, is little more than a vanity title.

“You may have read that I am technically ‘signed on,’ by default, to be an executive consulting something or other,” Harmon shared Saturday via his Tumblr page. “However, if I actually chose to go to the office, I wouldn’t have any power. … I would be ‘offering’ thoughts on other people’s scripts, not allowed to rewrite them… not allowed to say whether a single joke was funny or go near the edit bay etc.

“I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of Community without me,” he continued, “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 eight times a day.”

The replacement of Harmon comes on the heels of co-showrunners Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan moving to the Fox comedy Ben & Kate, and Chris McKenna vacating his role as co-exec producer.

RELATED | Former Community Executive Producers Join Fox Comedy

Harmon claims that Sony Pictures TV, the studio that makes Community, pulled the trigger on this transition without attempting to extend his most recent, one-year deal. “[T]heir reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business,” he writes, “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.”

What might those complaints have been? The buzz is that as creatively brilliant and inventive as he may be, Harmon proved to much for SPTV, and those who worked under him, to handle. As one insider told New York Magazine‘s Vulture column, “Dan is a brilliant at ideas, but he’s terrible at [management].”

NBC last week renewed Community for a 13-episode fourth season, but the network banished the comedy to Fridays at 8:30/7:30 after Whitney. That said, the change in showrunners, as TV Guide Magazine reports, is likely designed to “broaden” the distinctively quirky comedy’s appeal and thus hopefully reach a wider audience.

RELATED | NBC Boss Talks Community‘s New Time Slot, Dan Harmon’s Possible Exit

Community leading man Joel McHale had been dreading the possibility of Harmon exiting, telling TVLine. “Dan’s the creator of the show, so to lose his voice would be pretty crazy…. He gave me the role of a lifetime, so it would be a very weird scenario [to continue] without him.

“I pray that it works out well,” McHale added. “That sounds weird and vague, but I really do. I literally am praying.”

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153 Comments
  1. COMMUNITY is not a show where you can just replace the creative mind behind it and things continue on smoothly. This is the most creative show on the planet and you now want it run by a bunch if douchebags who created horrible shows?

    I don’t care if Dan was a pain in the ass. Pains in the ass create genius. And that’s what he did. This is my favorite show right now, but I have no doubt it will suck ass next season. So, screw you, Sony. And eff off to these new show runners who have the ballsacks to think they have a chance in hell of taking over for a brilliant man.

  2. Mark says:

    I literally just started watching Community for the very first time.. this week. I don’t know how I went this long without watching it. It’s brilliant and innovative. I watch every other show that was on NBC’s Thursday night line up. I have even been loyal to The Office regardless of it’s lack of comedy this past few seasons.

    I haven’t watched a show like this in a very long time. Three episodes come to mind for me. The Zombie Halloween Episode, The Paintball Episode and Conspiracy Theory episode. No other show on TV does those kind of things anymore. They don’t completely focus on Jeff and whatever girl he is after. They touch on it but that’s not what the show is 90% focused about like other comedy shows tend to do these days.

    I’m only mid way through Season two so I don’t think I can justifiably say that the series will go to crap without Dan Harmon. I don’t like the idea because I think that he needs to be in control. The fact that he’s known for being a little rough and tough when it comes to work means that HE’S DOING HIS JOB. I feel as if though everyone knows this and that the new bosses will likely go to him for input and guidance anyway… hopefully.

  3. I’m sure that if the new showrunners wanted to they could hire Harmon as a freelancer to write scripts. Hell, they could hire him to write all 13 episodes. It all depends on what kind of relationship he cultivates with them.

    • sammybijaoui says:

      Do you remember who Robert Towne is? An extremely talented screenwriter, who wrote the script for “Chinatown”, did some uncredited work on some of the best scenes of “The Godfather” (the final conversation between Vito and Michael for instance) and directed a few movies.
      Robert Towne has always been notoriously late for turning scripts. He procrastinates and he’s obsessed with perfection. And he screwed it up at the end of the ’70s, as he couldn’t deal with schedules and lame realities of the kind.
      So, he has mostly been a script doctor, and a very well regarded one, but apart from Tom Cruise on Mission: Impossible (and who knows how much of the stuff in the movie is Towne’s?), nobody will give another pass at a big budget movie (because of that, and the fact he’s 78…)

      Dan Harmon seems to have the same gift and curse. If you give him a generic script, he can bring his personal touch to it and rewrite it in detail, to make it outstanding. And that’s why you want to hire him for. But, according to many reports, the problem is that he can’t deliver a script in due time, which causes a myriad of delays, expenses and difficulties. The result was often amazing, but you can’t work like that unless the show is a huge hit and can afford a diva in its ranks. Community, unfortunately, isn’t a huge hit.

  4. Brad says:

    Quit whining. The show sucks, that’s why nobody watches and why it’s done after a few more episodes. Boring, mainstream humor with little originality. Hayseed TV, plain and simple. You are not cool because you watch this show.

    • John Berggren says:

      Trolltrolltroll.

    • Cathy says:

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but you should really find a way to do so without insulting others, because in doing so, it really makes you look like a small, petty, ignorant, horrendous person.

  5. Shae says:

    ‘Broaden its appeal’. IN other words mainstream the story and make it like every other sitcom. Say goodbye to the insightful parodies/homages, the tongue-in-cheek romantic overtures, the challenging of the boundaries. No more concept episodes, just a study group in a library.

  6. martie says:

    It’s probably dead without him – it was his vision and this far into its run it’s tough to bring in new showrunners with a different vision. When NBC says they want it to have more broad appeal that basically means dumbing it down. Having said that, part of being a showrunner does mean trying to keep conflicts in-house.. You can’t publicly play a ranting voice mail of one of your actors and expect no repercussions from the network. It’s his responsibility to keep that stuff out of the public eye and he failed miserably at that.

  7. Ace says:

    LAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAME!!!

  8. EvilGoatee says:

    “Broaden”? Broadening might just destroy the essence of the show….and if that’s the case it might be better for us to avoid six seasons and a movie and stick with four classic, definitive, genius seasons

  9. anik says:

    13 episodes instead of 22? Ok, there is always a chance for a +9 order.
    Friday at 8:30 instead of Thursday at 8? Ok, less competition I guess.
    No Dan Harmon instead of With Dan Harmon? There is no way of seeing something positive here. #sixseasonsandweloveyoudanharmon

  10. liddad says:

    On the up side (if there is one) Harmon himself says he respects the new showrunners and he knows they’re good guys.
    If they’re the “good guys” Harmon says they are, maybe they could approach Dan to make sure they’re not screwing up his creation, and keeping the voice of it alive?
    I hope so, anyway, or maybe I’m just clutching at straws?

    • Angela says:

      That would be very cool if they did that. Harmon’s blessing for them is a positive sign, yes. It’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility and worth hoping for.

  11. jmac19 says:

    It’s shocking to me that when you have a talented creator — whether he’s a handful or not — that the network doesn’t try to work with him first (and by “work with him” I mean “sit down, introduce yourself and offer a cup of coffee” (or in the case of NBC, which can’t afford coffee at this point, or chairs, “to invite him in to a mostly empty room, offer him a glass of tap water (it’s the best in the country!), and invite him to take the last pencil sharpener as a souvenir to remember the network by before it becomes Justin & Tamara’s Cool @$$ Cable Access Channel”)).

    I really just don’t understand that lack of basic human social skills.

    • Mandy says:

      Does the owner of McDonalds sit down with a cashier when they’re having problems? I’m not trying to be a dick but come on. I really don’t believe NO ONE at NBC or Sony has talked to him before this. The people who talk to the media at NBC are not the same people who do the hiring/firing/HR stuff at NBC. It’s ridiculous to expect that.

  12. Peter says:

    Okay, I’m gonna get a lot flack for this one.

    It’s obvious I’m a fan of the show and in this situation, of course Harmon is the victim, but given Harmon’s history of being difficult, the combination of the Chevy fiasco, the oh-so-low ratings and minimal profit for the show, as disheartening it is to see the show lose its soul, I can see why Sony/NBC had enough and am making this move to gamble on drawing a new/additional audience with (and here’s the key point) ANOTHER SEASON.

    • Edie says:

      It seems manipulative of Sony/NBC. Given the problems with Harmon this has probably been in the works for a long time, meaning maybe they should have had the nerve to just cancel it rather than get fans all excited for a new season that they knew would not be anything like the same show. It’s like the classic deal with the devil–you said you wanted your little show alive, you didn’t say you didn’t want it to be a soulless ghost of its true self!

  13. Beth says:

    So, only a 13-ep pickup, a Friday night deathslot next to Whitney, and the show’s creator being fired. Gee NBC, what are you trying to tell us? This is why you’ll stay in the ratings gutter for a very long time.

  14. Ken says:

    I know alot of people are going to hate this but, Community has really been a mess since the hiatus, all the inspector spacetime, dream-a-torium, Changlorious bastards nonsense has been very off puting, can we at least get an episode about a quirky class every now and again, this coming from a “since the pilot fan”

    Admited the finale episodes were awesome

  15. John says:

    There are some spelling mistakes in this article. Please fix them!

    • Translation says:

      “I am anal-retentive and have my therapist on speed dial. Please do not make me call him because of my worry over your spelling errors. I’ve already called him 18 times this week.”

  16. Alex says:

    Hate to put it like that, but… I haven’t seen a single show that was great after the series creator left. None.

  17. LOL says:

    WTF R U ALL TALKING ABOUT? THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT COULD’VE EVER HAPPENED TO THIS POS!!! I’LL STILL NEVER WATCH IT, BUT AT LEAST IT MAY NOW BE TOLERABLE!!!
    AND WTF CARES ABOUT THE DARKEST TIMELINE ANYWAY?
    (P.S; TO SAVE TIME, YES. I’M TROLLING THIS TIME.)

  18. Boo freaking hoo says:

    Community fans are like the Red Sox fans of TV fandom. Whining and entitlement, all day every day. “Waaaaaaaah, I hate NBC, even though they are the ones who aired Community in the first place and could have canceled it year after year b/c of its crap ratings.”
    So the show is moving to Friday and the creator got shown the door. Suck it up and deal with it.

  19. tvdiva says:

    Dan Harmon is playing the victim, when he really only has himself to blame. He got himself fired. Just like in the corporate world, no matter how talented you are, if you embarrass your company publicly in any manner, they will replace you as soon as humanly possible.No company is going to keep someone around who is brilliant but difficult to work with. That type of ego stresses out everyone else at work and emotionally drains everyone around them. Dan Harmon needs to make a choice – grow up and act like an adult, or go to the nearest day care center or mental facility and continue behaving the way he does now.

  20. Ashly says:

    Wow NBC, such a great idea. Sar. cas. tic. Claps.

  21. Larry says:

    Stop complaining about 13 Episodes, chances are its going to bumped up to 16 or maybe 18…NBC has done what the could for this show but, they can’t pretend Community isn’t a ratings nightmare. Don’t get me wrong i love community and if moving it to fridays means i will get 6 seasons and a movie, then i’m all for it.

  22. Nicole says:

    This is bittersweet… Here we all were so glad to get another season, and now… maybe they should’ve just ended it. Here’s hoping that the new creators will do a good job, maybe actually ask for Harmon’s advice, and keep the show the amazingly quirky thig it is.
    I really hope they don’t turn it into another genaric comedy, because COMMUNITY is not genaric. It’s not for everybody, I get that, but why ruin a good thing?

  23. Hojana says:

    I really liked Aliens in America so maybe it won’t be so bad.

  24. Mandy says:

    “‘It has to be like this or I quit’ roughly eight times a day”

    What a fun work environment that must be for everyone.

    I absolutely LOVE the show, but I doubt it will be much different without Harmon. It’s funny how a lot of people were criticizing him for his treatment of fans on Twitter, but as soon as he gets fired, we all love him again?

  25. Always Robert, not Rob, Bob, or Bobby says:

    I thoroughly enjoy the show, but answer this honestly…if you had never seen it before and watched a show in Season 3, like Pillows And Blankets or Basic Lupine Urology, you wouldn’t say WTF? Would they get all of the inside jokes along with the Ken Burns/Law and Order references? It’s brilliant, but it needs more than same 3.5 million people to watch it in order to survive.

    I lament the day that Dan Harmon was removed from the show, but someone needed to sit down with him a long time ago and figure out a way to make the show appeal to a broader audience. Hopefully the new showrunners will be able to do that. It isn’t as if all of the writers were fired as well…Hopefully, the writers will be able to retain what makes Community Community even without Dan Harmon, and find a way to make the show appeal to more viewers as well.

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  28. RDL says:

    AllisonRoberto is an IDIOT. This is a place for Community, not your spam.

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