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Exclusive Details: Community's Surprising Plan to Write Out Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase Leaving Community SpoilersChevy Chase‘s abrupt departure from Community last week left the show’s writers zero time to craft a big farewell for his curmudgeonly character, Pierce Hawthorne — so it’s a good thing they didn’t have to.

Sources confirm to TVLine that the Season 4 finale, which was shot out of sequence once word came down that Chase was exiting, includes a cliffhanger that leaves the fate of several characters up in the air — one of them being Pierce.

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As a result, should NBC renew the show for a fifth season, it won’t be tough to explain why Pierce is MIA. “[Episode 413] wasn’t intended to set up his departure,” notes an source. “It just worked out that way.”

Meanwhile, rumor has it Community may have devised a way to include Pierce in one of the two Season 4 episodes shot after Chase’s exit (aka Nos. 411 and 412). Remember, this is a show that has turned its actors into everything from cartoons to giant pillowmen.

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77 Comments
  1. mst3k says:

    What a brilliant and perfect show. With no Dan Harmon im afraid this new season will stink out loud. I might have to pretend the season three finale was actually the series finale.

    • kavyn says:

      They still have the writers, including Megan Ganz, from seasons 1-3, and it’s not like the actors suddenly forgot how to play their roles.

      • Aleksa says:

        Agreed. I’m sure it will be fine.

      • BigMike says:

        He’s just being a cool guy, by hating on things on the Internet, before it even happens. Well done mst3k. Well done indeed.

      • Angela says:

        This, pretty much.

        A cliffhanger, eh? Hmmmm. Interesting. Man, this fourth season sounds like it’ll be crazy.

      • Oliver says:

        Actually, not a single season 1 writer remains now Harmon and McKenna have departed (and McKenna only joined at midseason in S1). I believe the only season 2 writers left are Andy Bobrow and Megan Ganz.

        The writers room is mainly season 3 and new writers.

        • Andie says:

          Personally, S1 was my least favorite and S3 was my favorite, so I’m okay with that. Not only with the loss of McKenna, though. I want another “Remedial Chaos Theory.”

          • Alan says:

            yep one was a disjointed mess at times, two improved on everything and it became the show we all know and love and three dialled in on the characters and had some truly fantastic comedy

    • Community really is a brillant and perfect show. Season 4 will be different but I’m sure it will still be great. I’m relieved that Chevy Chase leaving didn’t cause too much problems for the writers.
      We still have to see season 4 but I’m optimistic and I think NBC should renew the show for a 5th season. Six Seasons and a Movie !

      • The Six Seasons & A Movie dream died the second Harmon left the project. I’m entering into this season with speculation at best.
        The hope that this season might push it through to syndication and the show might get picked up by comedy central, whom ask Dan back to write HIS version of events may be a long shot, but it’s the one i’m holding onto.

    • Brendan says:

      That’s a little overly pessimistic. The most similar situation in recent tv history is The West Wing, and I’m expecting post-Harmon Community to be much like post-Sorkin West Wing; Not the transcendently amazing show that it was when under its original creator, but still very much enjoyable.

    • Alan says:

      so you’ve seen all the new episodes then? no, oh well how can you make a statement like that? sure dan harmon was an important part of the set up but he definitely wasn’t the only writer on staff. how about you wait until you’ve seen the new season to make over the top statements like this

    • Sports Fan says:

      You give Harmon too much credit.

  2. Josh says:

    A cliffhanger? Seriously? They’re ending the show on a cliffhanger in a season were it might not come back? The only season that ended in a cliffhanger was season 1(I don’t count Pierce leaving the group as a cliffhanger)…Ergh. I’m not happy about that :-/

  3. Blake says:

    There’s going to be a cliffhanger for several characters? What if we don’t get to have a 5th season? Seems like a cruel way to end the series.

    • kavyn says:

      I wouldn’t worry *too* much about it. Right now, including season 4 Community has 84 episodes, so it’s only four away from syndication. Even if season 5 is only six episodes, it’ll happen because it would be a waste NOT to get those last four episodes done.

      • Oh, you made me so happy ! 6 episodes like a British TV show.

        • JadMock says:

          6 episodes like a british tv show? you mean a BBC Drama / Special other tv shows in UK go on for years unfortunately one of them I believe is 50 years old :|. The only show I remember being 6-8 episodes was Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes

          • seagull says:

            Not sure why you’re objecting so much. Almost all British sitcoms have six episodes per season. It’s pretty much standard – occasionally a particularly popular show might get seven or eight, but even some very successful British sitcoms (Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Peep Show) have stuck firmly to six episodes per season.

      • NBC does not produce they show, they pay to air it so they do not care about syndication because they will see no money from it, PLUS 100 episodes is no longer the main goal for syndication, anything more than 80 seems to work. A good example is ‘Til Death that is in syndication with 81 episodes

        • TV Gord says:

          Where is ‘Til Death in syndication??? It sure isn’t anywhere on my schedule.

        • elf says:

          I believe the reruns have already been sold to syndication. Plus, if the owners of the show (not NBC as you pointed out) really want to reach 90 or 100 episodes, they could strike a deal with another network to produce the future episodes at a loss, under the assumption they would recoup the lost money in syndication fees.

      • Jacob says:

        88 has become the new standard for syndication but there have been shows that went into syndication with less. If someone really wanted to grab Community (say TBS perhaps…) I doubt 4 episodes would stand in the way of that plan. I think the only thing that will save it is if the owners of the show hope to squeeze out more syndication money and are willing to give it to NBC at rock bottom prices.

        • kavyn says:

          The way I see it, it’s common practice for a show to work on syndication at 88 episodes, and for the most part that’s what networks focus on. I didn’t know NBC was simply paying for it, but either way the network that does produce Community may look for another network.

          For now Community has been syndicated to Comedy Central. But just because it’s syndicated doesn’t mean it can’t find other networks too. I still think Community will get a 5th season, maybe not on NBC anymore but I do think it’ll get those episodes done. It’s better to be safe than sorry and considering Community has a huge following and gets a lot of buzz, I don’t see the true harm. Hell, even making 6 episodes just to burn off (ie during times where another show has a break) is entirely possible.

      • Tom says:

        I’m not sure you’re right here. Community has already been sold into syndication with the number of episodes it has (Look for it on Comedy Central in ’03). The 88 number is typical but not a deal breaker.

        The bigger issue is the current season was approved to beef up the number of episodes for syndication. Meaning Sony has probably already taken a hit on the production costs to get it to 84. So there’s a question as to whether Sony can financially take their costs down even further to accommodate the normal rise in cost that comes from another season.

        Also working against Community is NBC’s recovery. Community has benefited from NBC not having anything better to put on. That’s not really true anymore.

      • Will says:

        I wouldn’t bet too much on that. The WB’s Felicity was canceled after 4 seasons with 84 episodes total and it was able to show reruns in syndication on WE tv.

  4. Jonathan says:

    I think it already got picked up for syndication by comedy central. Not to mention, the total number of episodes doesn’t exactly matter anymore. Shows with allot less episodes are in syndication right now. Firefly, arrested development to name a few. Not to mention before family guy and futurama had less to before being rescued from oblivion and placed in syndication.

  5. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I generally find cliffhangers to be a pretty bullcrap way to end a TV season. I don’t even want to have to wait a whole week to see what’s going to happen on the next Homeland, to make me wait 4-5 months to get something resolved on a show is just cruel, cruel, cruel. I’m not happy about this news. And now if they don’t get a season 5, these cliffhangers will be an extremely bullcrap way to end the series. But if they have a way to get Pierce out of the school in a way that makes sense, then I am happy about that at least.

  6. lara says:

    I also hate cliffhangers, especially on a show that has not yet been renewed. And, for everyone saying that they it will get renewed for syndication, I believe it’s not absolutely necessary and that it can be without X # of episodes.

  7. Why would a show with a 10% of renewal end the season with a cliffhanger? Don’t get me wrong I want 6 seasons and a movie but it is not going to happen. The Feb. start was the final nail in the coffin. The cliffhanger will not force NBC to renew the show it will just alienate what few fans we have left

  8. TV Gord says:

    I love this show from beginning to end. I just can’t see NBC renewing it for a 5th season. The way it’s been shunted around the schedule this season (before it even airs!) shows that NBC has no interested in it (especially the new regime).

  9. LJW says:

    No way this is getting renewed.

  10. Jason says:

    Adios Chevy, you’ll never recapture the greatness of Fletch or Christmas Vacation.

    #sixseasonsandamovie
    #anniesboobs

  11. Dizzle says:

    I’m actually holding out hope that Community might get renewed for a season 5… The Office and 30 Rock are both ending, Up All Night just isn’t working out (which is a shame), and I doubt neither Whitney nor Guys With Kids will be renewed. So that leaves Go On, New Normal, Community and Parks & Recreation…. I can see NBC moving forward with those four, and opting for a handful of new comedies next year.

    • Little Scarf Girl says:

      That’s optimistic, and I’m holding out a shred of hope for that. They can’t just bag all their comedies in one year, and 30 Rock did get renewed for a finale season even though it had pretty awful ratings last season, too.

    • Alan says:

      based on parks and rec’s latest numbers its in the doubtful column for me this year, although nbc cant can that many comedies in one year so there is some hope

      • liddad says:

        Also, with NBC’s lack of multi-camera, they’ll probably want to keep one or two of them.
        Whitney will probably be cancelled and Guys With Kids will get a 13 episode season and be cancelled next year.
        Up All Night hasn’t had any ratings in the new multi-camera format, but as long as the ratings aren’t a total disaster, it’ll probably get renewed, if only to give it a real chance in this format.
        Hence, unless Guys With Kids numbers go down even further (which they seem to be finally keeping steady), or if Community’s numbers rise due to good quality/heavy promotion/NBC doing well this year, then Community is dead this year.
        I’ve been fighting against that conclusion for a while now, but the death of Guys With Kids is almost the only way Community will make it to season 5. There’s still a chance it’ll go in Community’s favour, but at the current moment, without any season 4 ratings, that’s what looks most likely.

  12. Steven says:

    I though season 4 would feature the characters graduating.

    • Little Scarf Girl says:

      That does make sense, and it probably will be the case for some of the characters. But not everyone graduates on time, or even at all. And the show really evolved into something beyond just a bunch of people at a community college.

    • Alan says:

      we were told some of the characters wouldnt graduate a while ago, i would assume that will be the cliffhanger

  13. davey says:

    TNT should pick up Community and play it alongside Cougar Town.

  14. Steven says:

    Another NBC will be canceled after four seasons and a cliffhanger. Just like My Name is Earl and Heroes.

    • Steven says:

      NBC *show*

    • liddad says:

      Heroes sucked. Oh, I loved it at the time, but really the only reason I watched it was the same reason everybody kept watching Season 2 of The Walking Dead. It was awful, but it had so much potential to get better.
      The only difference was, Heroes did nothing with that potential for 2 years, where The Walking Dead is the best it’s ever been after a mediocre season.

  15. Irish Man 12 says:

    Shouldn’t the proper hashtag for this show be…#fourseasonsandacliffhanger ;)
    But seriously though, I’ve never seen an episode and do believe that this series should just be cancelled right now.

    • EvilGoatee says:

      How can you judge Community without having viewed it? Given, people do that for a lot of things, but when the majority of comedies in America don’t remotely touch the greatness of shows like Seinfeld or Cheers, we could do with another great comedy on TV. Community is that show.

      • Irish Man 12 says:

        The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.
        Your Welcome.
        And I accept your apology in advance for being a bully to me ;)

        • Alan says:

          big bang theory: first 3 seasons are great but then it lost it
          modern family: good but a bit comedy by the numbers to be considered great.
          also being a bully, for what? all he did was call out the fact that you cant judge something you havent seen

          • Irish Man 12 says:

            Big Bang Theory: You clearly haven’t truly watched seasons 5 and 6 (4 was weak)
            Modern Family: The Emmys consider Modern Family great, plus the ratings back up the quality.
            And I’m allowed to do whatever I desire however I so choose. So stop persecuting/bullying me ;)

          • Alan says:

            not bullying just giving my opinion. trust me i know what bullying is like, school was not fun for me.
            anyway what i saw of big bang season 5 i think is even worse than season 4. the emmys are notorious for being very safe with their choices, look at season 2 of modern family, it was poor but still got the awards

          • Irish Man 12 says:

            Must have sucked to be you during school ;)
            Anyways, I stand by what I said and you must too ignorant to change your viewpoint, so I win :0

        • ILoveSitcoms says:

          Big Bang Theory’s plots have become paper thin using what should be a 20 second gag and stretching it out over 21 minutes. My theory is that they’ve cheaped out on quality writers in order to pay the actors’ big raises. I’m surprised it hasn’t started bleed viewers.

        • were123 says:

          do you know what does “bully” means? You’re such a cry baby! TBBT and Modern Family are really great, but Community is great too! And none of those shows deserves to end in a cliffhanger in which the characters are left in the air

    • Alan says:

      yeah because you are well informed to make that kind of statement. go watch the show (get past the first half of season one, its ok not great) then you can make that kind of statement

      • Irish Man 12 says:

        Why thank you for acknowledging that I am well informed. Trust me on this one. I have seen great comedies (on CBS and ABC and FOX) and Community (or anything else on NBC for that matter) don’t compare and never will.
        It’s all about the viewers princess ;)

        • Irish Man 12 says:

          that should read “doesn’t compare…”

        • Alan says:

          it should be about quality, and community stands above every other comedy on tv at the minute on those terms. just generalising that everything on nbc sucks makes you look stupid by the way

          • Irish Man 12 says:

            Well too bad for you that you are in the fantasy world of “quality”, but it is about ratings and until your show has the ratings to back up the “quality,” your argument is null and void.
            Stop whining & accept it.

        • ILoveSitcoms says:

          “It’s all about the viewers princess ”

          That says it all. It’s a flavourless life to base your taste of what is popular. CBS is easily the most viewed network yet so much of their fare is poorly made and simple minded, especially their dramas, unchallenging mind candy for lower IQ’s. NBC is getting away from their more cerebral comedies, they want to make some money like anyone else, but that’s why their ratings have been lower. They’ve been attempting to appeal to a narrower demographic, namely the more affluent, more intelligent viewers. The problem is those people who don’t watch as much television and are easily outnumbered.

  16. Yo Irish Man 12, how can any opinion you have mean anything if you give your opinion on a show (Community) without having seen a single episode (you say it in your first post above)? As for Modern Family, can’t sit thru an episode, PC crap pisses me off. But BBT is (and will always be) great still in season 6.

  17. Community Fan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    I love this show I think that the main thing that is happenig is NBC wants to run huge hits instead of stuff people love. I always have watched NBC thursday nights becasue I knew I would get to watch hartfelt shows that have people I can realate to. NOt a buch of Nreds and a hot chick. ( TBBT) I want to see these people go on forever. I think that they will get a season 5 because the new people in NBC said that they want to give all these shows gentle endings that fans will enjoy and look at it 30 rock & the Office is leaving those are 2 sitcom staples from this decade. And if shows like animal pratice and next caller and what not were still on I think then they would can community with out a thought. Btw the new normal and go on are horrible I watched it and I thought this was another station. NBC should stick with shows that people love they might not have huge fan bases but people love them. I think that Community is the ne Frieands ( without the ratings). I am glad C.C. is leaving because he kiindva board me and he is a jerk from some of the reports I heard. I think that they could just bumo uo Jim Rashes role and the show would be 3 times funnier. I <3 Community!

  18. Community Fan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    By the way here are all the shows that are leaving tv this year:
    The Office, 30 rock, Fringe, How I met your mother might, and then so is Gossip Girl. THese are just afew and I am sure that there will be more. I think Community will get a 13 or less season order, they will air it in 1 half of the season and then flip it out with another show like they are doing this year. I hope Whitney gets cancled! I find her so much like I have seen every episode befor it has aired. I watched season 1 and am not bothering with season 2. I think that in the end Whitney & Guys with Kids & Up All Night ( =( ) will be cancled oh and 1600 penn I do not see that show going far I saw the comercial and was so board that I just wanted to smack NBC for even sau=ying we will air that show. Six seasons and a moive? I hope so! I think that with syndacation nuber slowly droping that that will not play a part in it. I do think that fact they are in sydacation is a factor. I thikn NBC wants to see if syndaction brings in any more nuber ratings wise if not season 5 is it. =( If they even get that

  19. Seymore Skinner says:

    Why don’t they just cancel the crapfest already? The only thing better than the show being off the air will be the cries of you neckbeard sissies crying into your latte’s.

    • Alan says:

      if you dont like the show, why bother going onto a story about it, all that does is bump up the page views and will lead to tvline running more stories on it. back under your bridge please troll

    • JadMock says:

      From someone who uses a name from a show that died a few years ago, seriously your a troll and you still watch Simpsons, now I am not saying its rubbish but really time for the kids to grow up.

  20. Sandy says:

    Ive just read all these comments I love community since the first season!!! I hope it will get renewed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. blogspot.com says:

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