Has Community Creator Dan Harmon Been Asked Back to Helm Season 5...?

Community Season 5 Dan Harmon ReturnsCould there be a bright-and-shiny timeline in which Dan Harmon returns to the helm of Community…?

During a Sunday evening recording of his Harmontown podcast, the Community creator reportedly let slip that he has been invited back for the cult comedy’s somewhat surprisingly greenlit Season 5, says the website Hollywookie.com, which had a staffer in the audience at the taping.

As the story goes, Harmon at first asked the podcast crew to edit out that jawdropper, only to then shrug, “Ah, f–k it. I don’t care who knows!”

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It is unclear if Harmon is claiming he was asked back as showrunner or to serve as a consulting producer — a title he was offered, yet declined, at the time of his May 2012 firing. A spokesperson for Sony Pictures Television, which would be the one to approach Harmon (provided the studio had NBC’s blessing), did not immediately respond to TVLine’s request for comment.

Harmon officially parted ways with the show he created almost exactly a year ago, when NBC sought to “broaden” the comedy’s appeal. At the time, Harmon said, “[T]heir reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business, 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.”

Two months later, Harmon shared during an Attack of the Show appearance that he suspected he would get shown the door, saying that when it comes “people who work over me, I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit,” given Community‘s perennially low ratings.

Earlier this month, Community closed Season 4 with an audience of 3 million and a 1.3 demo rating — exactly matching its previous, Harmon-led finale. Season 5 is due to premiere sometime at midseason, seeing as NBC’s Thursday slate is full for fall with Parks and Recreation and the new comedies Welcome to the Family, Sean Hayes’ Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show.

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During the aforementioned Harmontown podcast session, Harmon reportedly quipped that he would only return for Community Season 5 if Chevy Chase — who famously exited the show toward the end of Season 4 — was also invited back. Much laughter (reportedly) followed.

Do you think Harmon could give Community back its spark?

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  1. “don’t frakkin’ curse, and be gone with your offers of discount leather goods” I just saw that, lol.

    But on topic. I don’t know why people hated Pierce so much. I for one would like to see Chase come back to the show. I didn’t hate the last season, but it really was missing something.

    • TV Gord says:

      Personally, I didn’t like Chevy Chase, but I liked him on Community. I hope the both come back (with a two-year deal…and a movie, of course).

      • Based on the last season, I can see why Chase wanted to leave. The writers did his character a disservice. He wasn’t the Pierce from the seasons Harmon was on. The other characters became increasingly meaner towards him with little to no justification.

        • BGD says:

          I agree. I wasn’t ever a huge fan of his, and always thought he was a little whiner who was out of touch with the craziness of the show.

          But season four, which I only watched half of, the character was all over the place. I understand why he stormed off the set.

          • Alan says:

            he was written that way because the writers had no idea if he was even going to turn up for work on any given day; better to give him a minimal role that can be taken out easily than have to suddenly and awkwardly remove a major storyline because he thinks he is bigger than the show.

        • ER says:

          I do think that CC overreacted and was very disrespectful (from what Joel has said and what has been reported), but I do completely understand why he wanted to leave. He became such a caricature of his original character.

        • Alan says:

          he was written that way in season 4 because of chase’s behaviour. no point in giving the guy long term stories when you don’t even know if he is going to turn up tomorrow.

        • TV Gord says:

          Pierce was always portrayed as a knob…as were all of the characters at one point or another (except maybe Abed). Chase’s problem is that he is, was and always has been a prima donna…with the least possible emphasis on “prima”.

    • I agree that the show was missing something, but I”m not 100% sure it was Chevy Chase or not…but something was definitely off.

    • dude says:

      I loved Pierce but I don’t think it comes down to whether the fans like him, HE doesn’t want to be on the show. Why would he return to something he didn’t enjoy working on.

  2. Ace says:

    This would be epic awesomeness.

  3. Tom Charles says:

    Only if they let, to borrow a quote from The West Wing, Harmon be Harmon. Don’t try to broaden it. Let it be its own weird, wonderful thing.

  4. Steve S. says:

    The podcast episode in question is a few weeks old at this point. He also mentions in it that all that it was was their people approached his people, as a ‘what if’ scenario – mostly to drum up interest at the time that they were trying to decide whether or not to renew for season 5. He admitted there wasn’t really anything to it.

    • Tom L says:

      That’s a different episode you’re talking about. His latest one, which hasn’t been released online yet – he reportedly confirmed that he’s in talks.

    • Remy says:

      You appear to have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about

  5. Reston says:

    The very best timeline

  6. Angela says:

    I honestly didn’t have a problem with the fourth season overall-it wasn’t perfect, no, but it had some good moments/episodes in it.
    That said, however, if Harmon wanted to come back…*Shrugs*. Fine with me.

  7. Truefan says:

    A guy who creates the show would go the extra mile to make it good. He’s the missing spark.

  8. ScrubsGuy says:

    I saw Dan Harmon on Arrested Development! …not related, but still pretty cool.

  9. Leah says:

    Yes, I hope he comes back! #sixseasonsandamovie!

  10. B says:

    Didn’t miss him in season four (I’m aparently the only person on the Internet who didn’t see a change in quality, but I’ve accepted that I’m weird in that rite) but would definitely love to see him come back to his baby because it would be nice for him as a person.

    • Chel says:

      You’re not the only one. Just the people who DID miss him were much more vocal.

    • Alan says:

      yeah there was no problem with season 4, i can guarantee if there hadnt been any public announcement about what happened then there wouldnt be anyone complaining, they went in convinced it was going to be bad and that was exactly what they got.

  11. Babybop says:

    As long as they don’t go back to the characters all being unlikable. There are too many shows with characters who are terrible people!

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      I don’t think the characters were ever unlikable. Well, except maybe for Britta in the first season. But we all love her now, do we not?

      • dude says:

        I LIKE Britta (agree that she was the worst of the seven in season one) but I don’t love her. I more-so love the jokes at her expense which is a kind of love, no?

      • Babybop says:

        Really? I thought during season 3, when they were fighting all the time, they just seemed so selfish to me. Maybe it was just the fighting that made them unlikable. Ha ha.

  12. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I saw this rumor on the AV Club awhile ago and they mentioned Vulture had started it, and the AV Club was pretty much laughing it off as not being true. At the time I was wondering if Dan would bring it up on Harmontown and confirm or deny it. I’m a little behind on my Harmontown episodes so I missed his announcement. Glad you guys caught it, TVLine!
    On a related note, to those who are watching the new season of Arrested Development, keep a sharp eye out for Dan Harmon’s cameo appearance. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it kind of thing, but he’s definitely in there. I won’t tell you where or what episode so you can have your own fun doing that easter egg hunt. :)

  13. Please NO, S3 was so horrible. Dan has clearly lost his way with this show

  14. ER says:

    Please, make this happen. Season 4 was a disaster.

  15. rowan77 says:

    From what I understood, Harmon was approached about a month ago to possibly return to the series for it’s 5th and final season. They are aware that most of the audience has lamented that the show has lost much of it’s signature bite and they want to please the fans – giving the show just that much more juice as it hits the magic number of episodes for syndication. It buys audience good will – something NBC is sorely lacking.

    As for what position was offered – anything other than showrunner would be considered useless to him. While he was difficult to work for and with, it was his pugnaciousness to protect his esoteric vision that led to some truly great episodes. If someone on the show has veto power over Harmon, then there is no way he can protect the show.

    I have mixed feelings about his return. On one had, a return would (hopefully) bring about the tone we’ve all missed. It would be a triumph on his part and an act of contrition on NBC’s for firing him in the first place. But on the other hand, if he hasn’t learned how to play the network?studio political game, he may go back to his old ways and that means animosity and the network and studio will continue to treat show creators who are off-beat in their humor as the ugly, red-headed stepchildren. Super-creative shows won’t make it to pilot, let alone get a 13 episode pick-up because the network will want a broader comedy that doesn’t offend by showrunners who don’t want to push any envelopes, let along the creative one. Would be an interesting quandry if I though he’d ever return. Doesn’t he have several shows in development with other networks?

    • JLK says:

      The fact that he’s got a lot of irons in the fire right now makes me think that there’s a slim chance that he’ll say, “OK…I’ll come back in a reduced role so I can focus on the new stuff, but also send the show off right.” That could be win-win for everyone. Harmon can tweak shows as necessary…put his stamp on them for what’s presumably the last season. They would still need day-to-day showrunners, so they get the fun of dealing with the network & Harmon, but Harmon and the network don’t necessarily have to deal with each other. A year ago, Harmon saw the offer as a demotion and insulting. This year it could look more like a fun addition to his crazy schedule. If he wasn’t interested in their offer, I suspect he would have told them to piss off straight away. He didn’t do that, so whatever they’re offering must be sounding interesting.

      • canadian ninja says:

        If he was the kind of guy who could just “tweak shows as necessary” he probably wouldn’t have a) been let go by Sony or b) made about a dozen GREAT episodes of comedy.

  16. Danny says:

    It’d be fantastic if it’s true. Season 5 is most likely to be the last, so let Harmon do his thing and let’s end the show like it was before season 4, wich was such a dissapointment.

  17. I can’t help but doubt it.:/

  18. Mantis Toboggan says:

    Is it me or is NBC taking a bug risk with Thursday nights? By canceling (or wrapping up) all but two of its sitcoms, they really have nothing left in their back pockets in case one of the new sitcoms fails. I am willing to bet we could see The Greendale gang back prior to “mid season”.

  19. April says:

    I doubt he’d agree to come back, but I really wish he would! It’s a completely different show without him. I’m sure some people like it, but I liked the old show and miss it terribly. I’m not planning to watch season 5, but if Harmon came back, so would I.

  20. madgem says:

    I want to watch Felicity with Yvette!

  21. Mark says:

    His last line says it all … being asked is not the same as accepting, unfortunately … and it sure sounds to me like Harmon is *not* returning. While there were some glimmers of seasons past in this year’s run, any true fan of the show would have to admit that something felt more than a little “off.” It would be a great thing if Harmon returned, but I don’t think he is. I just can’t imagine Chase ever crossing that burnt-to-a-crisp bridge.

    • rowan77 says:

      Chevy’s problem is he thinks he’s still quirky, brilliant lead from his Fletch days. He wants to be “The Winger” of the show and instead he plays a racist/sexist old guy whose not super bright and is the butt of jokes. His time as The Winger is long over and he should have considered what an interesting character Pierce really is: A lonely, older, oft divorced son of a wealthy businessman who never fit in. Chevy was at his best when we saw the emotion and sadness of Pierce’s life juxtaposed with his blustery ways. Someone needs to tell Chevy that it’s okay to play the villain sometimes (season 3), because his villain had depth.

      Now no one is going to want to work with Chevy, and that’s sad because he got a whole new generation to recognize him and could have parlayed this part into more work.

  22. Larry says:

    Fred Willard should play Pierce in season 5.

  23. Brooke says:

    I love this show. As long as it’s continuing, I’m happy. This past season, I agree, was missing something. I feel like Community is a really smart show. Please keep surprising us with new ideas. ‘Troy and Abed in the morning!’

  24. Steven says:

    While I hate that his show as taken from him, he needs to be more mature and not act like such a baby to the press. Cursing and whatnot. He is a liability and NBC was right to not want to be involved with him. His show’s ratings are not worth the trouble.

  25. John Berggren says:

    Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please. #SixSeasonsAndAMovie!

  26. Bob says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it. NBComcast is so messed up right now, who knows what they’ll do next. This past season was OK, but mediocre compared to previous seasons. As long as they get away from Chang, it’ll be better. Don’t care whether Chase/Pierce returns. The show will survive without him.

  27. M says:

    I’d actually start watching again. This season was just going through the motions of trying to be Dan Harmon’s Community. A few episodes in and I just couldn’t do it anymore.

  28. Todd says:

    Dan Harmon would be the only reason I would watch Season 5. If he does come back, I hope just pretends S4 didn’t happen and moves on from where he left things in S3. S4 was some horrible television and needs to be forgotten.

  29. rachelle says:

    HA! I swear, swear, swear I saw this coming! There was a definite difference between this last season and the previous 3.

  30. Mac says:

    Maybe the best possible timeline?

  31. Sarabi says:

    YES! Bring him back, NBC!

  32. Liz says:

    Oh my god yes please! PLEASE! Season 4 was the worst and although there was a quality decline already in season 3, the comedy was always there. Season 4 was a dull dud and I actually started to dislike the characters. I had no intention of watching season 5 but if Dan Harmon comes back I will!