Parks and Recreation Boss Clears the Air on Big Season 6 Exits: 'There's No Controversy Involved'

Parks and Recreation Season 6 Rob Lowe and Rashida JonesRob Lowe and Rashida Jones are not leaving Parks and Recreation in a move to cut costs, the NBC comedy’s boss maintains. Instead, it was purely a creative decision.

“Every network comes to you and says, ‘Cut costs,’ all the time,” Parks and Recreation exec producer Mike Schur told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Assoc. summer press tour in Beverly Hills, where he was promoting his new Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine. “A reality of the network television game is they’ll always tell you to do impossible things with less and less money. But it wasn’t like, ‘Uh oh, we’ve got to hack away our cast.'”

RELATED | Parks and Recreation: Find Out Who’s Been Cast as Ron Swanson’s Doppelganger!

Schur also stressed that the decision to write out Ann and Chris didn’t come because their portrayers, Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, asked off the series. With the two characters preparing to have a child together, “It felt like maybe this is the way they get moved off, into the next phase of their lives on the show,” the EP explained.

The natural progression of the story “totally dovetailed and aligned with what the two actors envisioned for themselves in their careers. It’s a big happy mutual hug-fest celebration,” Schur said, adding that Jones (who has a production company set up at Warner Bros. TV) “was totally on board” with the choice.

“The real headline is that everyone is happy,” maintained Schur. “There’s no controversy involved.”

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37 Comments
  1. Fabe says:

    I just don’t believe it! I can’t believe Rashida Jones would want off the show!

    • D'Arcy says:

      It was a creative decision… As the article states…

      Regardless, I don’t think Jones would mind too much — she’s better off playing a different character. She’s a great actress but Ann Perkins was never much of an interesting character.

    • I love this show, but I’m kinda indifferent to these two leaving. They are more “sub-plot” characters than ones that drive the show. Now, if Ron Swanson or Tom Haverford were to leave, THAT would be tragic!

      • Patty Stamps says:

        absolutely agree.

      • Stacey says:

        I agree, Ann and Chris’ characters aren’t the most interesting on the show and when I first that robe Lowe and rashida Jones would be leaving I was shocked for the first 3 seconds and then I was like “whatever, at least its not Tom or Ron, then I’d be seriously pissed”

    • Jessica says:

      Rashida and her writing partner Will McCormick, who wrote Celest and Jesse Forever, signed a two year TV development deal with Warner Brothers. Considering she has always seemed well-loved by both Poehler and Schur and this is her second time working on a Mike Schur show, I wonder Rashida and the writers are excited for her and the baby plotline just happens to coincide and be a good exit vehicle.

  2. RobMF says:

    You would NEVER get rid of Rob Lowe & Rashida Jones just for story purposes.

  3. There’s no way they just thought, “hey, we could do without these characters.” They’re two of my favourites and it won’t be the same.

    • tripoli says:

      Agreed. I think Lowe’s character is utterly hilarious and Ann is such a great, level headed, sounding board for Leslie. It’s going to be really odd without those 2. Could have done with out Plaza and Pratt, not so much Jones and Lowe.

  4. josh says:

    I’m glad that there is no drama on my favorite set. Still think the “everyone is happy” is false, because while I understand what they are coming from..no Leslie/Anne makes me VERY unhappy :(. What will she without her beautiful tropical fish?

    I’m ready to cry on episode 13 of this season.

  5. sg says:

    wasn’t creative reasons the same reason given when the network told Criminal Minds to cut the female roles of JJ and Emily?

  6. rkar says:

    Every once in awhile what you read may just actually be the truth, its not always a conspiracy. I will miss them both, the show won’t be the same without them.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for doing some digging into this! Everyone has been going a bit crazy over this but Parks has some of the most talented writers and actors on television. I am going to trust that they are making a good move.

  8. C says:

    I agree with comments I read elsewhere that Ben has kinda taken Ann’s place as Leslie’s straight man/go-to person. I think Ann would work great as a recurring character. If she moves away, you could have her and Leslie have Skpye chats or something every few weeks. Frees up Rashida to do other stuff, keeps Ann involved, etc.

  9. kavyn says:

    Everyone’s happy, except the viewers! Seriously can’t imagine this show without the Leslie/Ann friendship! Should be interesting, I wonder if we’ll get new characters.

    • C says:

      I think we’ll see Donna more developed. I feel like I read an interview talking about wanting to do more with the character.

  10. Andy says:

    Why does nobody seem to be open to change? This is a GOOD THING for the best show on network TV. The Leslie/Ann friendship has moved to the background now that Leslie is with Ben, and the only storyline Chris has involves Ann. It’s a smart move to eliminate the two characters whose stories have come to a complete dead end and it’s yet another genius move on the part of the creative team behind this series.

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you! Though I’m sad to see them go because I enjoy both characters and actors, I think change could be a good thing. Last season, it was starting to feel like the writers didn’t really know what to do with them, so this is a great chance to shake things up. Hoping this leads to some great new storylines and a little more focus on under-utilized characters like Donna.

    • Marc says:

      I think people are just very cynical about these kinds of announcements. Everybody lies about the reasons for the changes. “It’s for creative reasons.” “The actor wants to make films.” “The network asked us to cut costs.” “We couldn’t agree on a contract extension.” “The network asked for creative changes.” “The studio asked us to cut costs.” We saw this for Gray’s last year and for Community and NCIS in the past month.

      Unless we get all of the parties under oath, I don’t believe a word of these explanations.

    • Exactly. It’s not like THIS show hasn’t done something similar before.

      The departure of Mark Brendanawicz opened the door for Chris and Ben. This propelled the show in a great new direction. I’m sure this shake-up will do the same.

      Besides Chris has (literally) been Flanderized into a total one-joke character, while Ann has been orbiting on the outskirts of the good stuff for a couple seasons now. Give the characters their happy endings, and move along.

  11. Elizabeth says:

    The thing about Mike Schur is that he is pretty open with just about everything. If you watch interviews with him or read articles, he practically gives everything away so it is ridiculous to not believe him. This set has always been one of the most put together, they all talk about how much they love each other. Every single person in the cast talks about how wonderful set is and how they cannot imagine a better job. Amy – “best cast and crew on television, comedy and drama. I get to go to my dream job everyday.” Adam – “Everyone is so terrific and lovely and fun. We’ve all become really good friends. The writers are incredible and Mike (Schur) and Greg (Daniels) are the leaders of the ship. I never want it to end.” Chris – “This family vibe, this thing of everyone getting along well, it all comes from Amy.” Jim – “A fellow actor and friend came up to me the other day and told me that we are the show to get on because it is so fun to work on.” There is no way that this cast would have let Rashida go if she didn’t want to. Just watch their Paley interviews – this cast was and is a family, no matter how cliché is sounds.

  12. Et al says:

    Sorry Schur, not a single word of that passes the sniff test.

  13. M3rc Nate says:

    Ohhh, good! Now i can go back to thinking “Frak NBC” instead of being disappointed in Jones and Lowe. :D

  14. R.O.B. says:

    Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger leaving Pawnee (and Parks & Recreation) to raise a child together? This is LIT’RALLY the most depressing and heartwarming thing I have EVER read.

  15. Mike says:

    Chris Traeger/Anne Perkins kooky family sitcom spin-off please?

  16. I think it makes a lot of sense story wise. They already have such a large cast, and with Leslie and Ben looking to perhaps start a family, adding a baby to the show now may have seemed too much. So why not let them get their happily ever after together? I’m happy for the characters, and excited to see what other work the actors do now. :)

  17. A says:

    I believe this is a good thing people. Chris Traeger was the worst and most annoying character on this show. I enjoy most of the other characters, but hated this since day one. Annoying as hell!

    • Scott says:

      Chris Traeger was literally written that way. Big Rob Lowe fan, sorry to see him go but I hope the door is left open for him to return if he’s not busy being Eddie Nero on Californication.

  18. Ashly says:

    While I’m not bummed their leaving, I am wondering who fill the void as Leslie’s BFF?

  19. Joey says:

    I’m still sad about them leaving the show. I hope Rashida Jones will come back when Parks and Rec have their final season.

  20. Babybop says:

    I mean… I don’t know. I just have trouble believing that you would just decide to write off two series regulars without them wanting to leave/the company being forced to cut actors.

    I trust the writers, but I’m still a little sad.

  21. Bob says:

    Don’t be fooled, it’s always about the money.

  22. Bob Johnson says:

    Read between the lines.

    NBC said, “Cut your budget!”.
    Producers said, “Uh oh, we have to get rid of someone!”.
    NBC said, “We don’t care who, just cut your budget!”.
    Producers said, “Hey, we have two high-salaried characters about to have a baby. Time for them to move on with their lives. Let’s write them out of the show!”

    Had to be how it happened, since neither actor wanted off the show (surprising for Rob Lowe). They were just the easiest to carve out. Notice how most of this season they didn’t have much interaction with the rest of the cast.

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