Go go go.
“Mitch Hurwitz and I touching opens a black hole from which ratings can’t escape.” - Dan Harmon
And the Dan Harmon working on Arrested Development rumors start…now.
If you’re not familiar with Dan Harmon’s Harmontown, it’s literally over an hour of Dan Harmon doing whatever he wants (perhaps you’d be into that), which could be stories, making Donald Glover play the role of himself while reading an e-mail from a weird relative that’s not a big…
Dan Harmon Gives Candid Interview With Marc Maron on G4 | EW
“If 20 people call you a horse’s ass, you buy a saddle,” Harmon told G4 interviewer Marc Maron. “I feel like I’m a good person and a professional, [a] very able leader of men. I also feel like I’m 25. Maybe I am just a jerk. To people who work above me I am a liability that isn’t worth the benefit. It’s a low-rated show that’s not generating much revenue.”
On Nielsen ratings: “We’re not trying to accurately measure how many people are watching television, we’re trying to accurately sell a certain amount of product to an advertiser”)
And on his future: “My [next] idea is to have less ideas, because I want to be successful in television. I turned off 90 percent of my brain … for the first season of Community.”
That next show, Harmon says, could be a multi-camera comedy — like Big Bang Theory — “just to prove that it’s not cancer, it doesn’t have to be. TV in all of its ugliness can be a beautiful thing.”
Love that last quote.
Here’s the text of the memo, obtained by THR …
With last night’s news of David Guarascio and Moses Port as new showrunners/EPs on “Community” running in the press, and since we know that cast members have interviews coming up this week, I wanted to forward some messaging we hope our cast will find helpful as they navigate questions that will undoubtedly come up. I know that David and Moses are reaching out to them all directly but I’ve also heard from some of the actors that they’d like some guidance on the topic.
I saw some of the tweets that went out and wereglad they all addressed their own sentiments quickly, and we’re hoping that the news will lose some steam over the next day, especially if we’re not perpetuating the topic in any way
We’re tracking the coverage and conversation and will circle back if we feel the need to reshift our plan or messaging. Please let me know if you have questions.
Why did Dan get let go from the show?
We’re not made aware of why staffing changes take place but I will always be grateful to Dan for his great work on the show and wish him only the best. We’re also excited that we’ll be back on NBC’s schedule in the fall and are looking forward to working on those episodes.
Were you aware that Dan was going to be let go?
No, that’s not something we’re consulted on. I’m sad to see him go but I am looking forward to starting our next 13 episodes of “Community.”
Did the studio or network consult with you about these changes?
No they didn’t but we’re looking forward to working with David Guarascio & Moses Port on a new season of Community.
What are their plans for the new season?
It’s a little early to say at this point but we’re looking forward the stories our characters will find themselves in come Sept.
Are they looking forward to next season?
Joe Adalian addresses more questions re: this thing we can’t stop talking about. I found this very hopeful…
Will Sony’s firing of Harmon impact his ability to find a new home in Hollywood?
We hope not. Even before last week’s unpleasantness went down, Adult Swim announced it was developing a new show with Harmon. And Vulture has heard that Harmon’s agents have already been fielding numerous calls from other networks and even some film studios about taking meetings with Harmon. We’ve also corresponded with network development execs who’ve indicated that they’ve heard the “stories” about Harmon and aren’t deterred: They want to talk about getting into business with him.
This is painful but true.
Nobody gets fired by accident — especially the creator of a television show. That’s because when you’re the showrunner of a network TV series, what you actually are is the CEO of a $60 million company, someone who creates a new product from scratch every eight days. As CEO, you make all creative and business decisions. You manage a crew of 200, write or rewrite every episode and have the luxury (and burden) of final cut. It is, in every sense of the word, your show.
So to replace a showrunner is no small thing. That said, it turns out to be surprisingly easy. You just make a couple of phone calls.
There’s a story Lorne Michaels tells at the end of Bill Carter’s book The War for Late Night about quitting Saturday Night Live. Lorne said that in his exit interview, a certain high-level executive at NBC said (I’m paraphrasing), “We paid you to deliver a certain number of episodes for a certain budget in a certain number of days. Nowhere in your contract does it say the show has to be good. If you believe it has to be good, then that’s on you. You can’t get mad at us for getting in your way.” Quality, in other words, is not the point. Money and ratings are the point.
Dan Harmon found this out the hard way on May 18. Sony Television (and, by not standing up for him, NBC) fired Harmon as the CEO ofCommunity. They wanted a product for a certain price in a certain number of days. He wanted it to be good.
Now the rumors are that Harmon was “difficult,” both to work with and to work for. I have no real information about this one way or another, but even if it’s true, Dan’s personality was a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. Because —and here’s the dirty secret of television — there are plenty of showrunners who are difficult. Some are even truly Machiavellian, hated and feared by all. But as long as their shows are hits, no one would ever think about replacing them.
Community, as we know, was not a hit. From their actions, though, Sony and NBC made it clear that they hope to get a couple more seasons out of the show so they can push it into the black via syndication. They are apparently willing to do this at the expense of the series itself. But again, remember, neither the studio nor the network cares about making a “good” show, in a fan sense. They need it to be “good” in a ratings sense. A money sense. Which it wasn’t.
It takes a certain temperament to be a TV showrunner — a kind of humble megalomania. You have to like being in charge, but you also have to accept that you work for two major corporations. And ultimately it is they, not you, who decide whether you or your show lives or dies.
So if you’re going to be difficult, you damn well better be successful.
The author is a television writer-producer who has run a broadcast network series.
It’s a shame the circumstances had to be so shitty, because all of this discourse about television and showrunners is fascinating.
Some of Community’s Cast Weighs in on Dan Harmon’s Ousting | THR
“Dan Harmon is Community” -Portrait Illustration by Sam Spratt
A quick tribute to Community’s lost showrunner. Brilliant mind. Can’t wait to see what he makes next.
This is a cool tribute and all, but he’s not dead.
A few hours ago, I landed in Los Angeles, turned on my phone, and confirmed what you already know. Sony Pictures Television is replacing me as showrunner on Community, with two seasoned fellows that I’m sure are quite nice - actually, I have it on good authority they’re quite nice, because they once created a show and cast my good friend Jeff Davis on it, so how bad can they be.
Why’d Sony want me gone? I can’t answer that because I’ve been in as much contact with them as you have. They literally haven’t called me since the season four pickup, so their reasons for replacing me are clearly none of my business. Community is their property, I only own ten percent of it, 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.
I do want to correct a couple points of spin, now that I’m free to do so:
The important one is this quote from Bob Greenblatt in which he says he’s sure I’m going to be involved somehow, something like that. That’s a misquote. I think he meant to say he’s sure cookies are yummy, because he’s never called me once in the entire duration of his employment at NBC. He didn’t call me to say he was starting to work there, he didn’t call me to say I was no longer working there and he definitely didn’t call to ask if I was going to be involved. I’m not saying it’s wrong for him to have bigger fish to fry, I’m just saying, NBC is not a credible source of All News Dan Harmon.
You may have read that I am technically “signed on,” by default, to be an executive consulting something or other - which is a relatively standard protective clause for a creator in my position. Guys like me can’t actually just be shot and left in a ditch by Skynet, we’re still allowed to have a title on the things we create and “help out,” like, I guess sharpening pencils and stuff.
However, if I actually chose to go to the office, I wouldn’t have any power there. Nobody would have to do anything I said, ever. I would be “offering” thoughts on other people’s scripts, not allowed to rewrite them, not allowed to ask anyone else to rewrite them, not allowed to say whether a single joke was funny or go near the edit bay, etc. It’s….not really the way the previous episodes got done. I was what you might call a….hands on producer. Are my….periods giving this enough….pointedness? I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of Community without me, 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 8 times a day.
The same contract also gives me the same salary and title if I spend all day masturbating and playing Prototype 2. And before you ask yourself what you would do in my situation: buy Prototype 2. It’s fucking great.
Because Prototype 2 is great, and because nobody called me, and then started hiring people to run the show, I had my assistant start packing up my office days ago. I’m sorry. I’m not saying seasons 1, 2 and 3 were my definition of perfect television, I’m just saying that whatever they’re going to do for season 4, they’re aiming to do without my help. So do not believe anyone that tells you on Monday that I quit or diminished my role so I could spend more time with my loved ones, or that I negotiated and we couldn’t come to an agreement, etc. It couldn’t be less true because, just to make this clear, literally nobody called me. Also don’t believe anyone that says I have sex with animals. And if there’s a photo of me doing it with an animal - I’m not saying one exists, I’m just saying, if one surfaces - it’s a fake. Look at the shadow. Why would it be in front of the giraffe if the sun is behind the jeep?
Where was I? Oh yeah. I’m not running Community for season 4. They replaced me. Them’s the facts.
When I was a kid, sometimes I’d run home to Mommy with a bloody nose and say, “Mom, my friends beat me up,” and my Mom would say “well then they’re not worth having as friends, are they?” At the time, I figured she was just trying to put a postive spin on having birthed an unpopular pussy. But this is, after all, the same lady that bought me my first typewriter. Then later, a Commodore 64. And later, a 300 baud modem for it. Through which I met new friends that did like me much, much more.
I’m 39, now. The friends my Mom warned me about are bigger now, and older, bloodying my nose with old world numbers, and old world tactics, like, oh, I don’t know, sending out press releases to TV Guide at 7pm on a Friday.
But my Commodore 64 is mobile now, like yours, and the modems are invisible, and the internet is the air all around us. And the good friends, the real friends, are finding each other, and connecting with each other, and my Mom is turning out to be more right than ever.
Ah, shit, I still haven’t called my fucking Mom.
Mom, Happy Mother’s Day. I got fired.
Yes, Mom. AGAIN.
Dan Harmon will not be returning as showrunner of NBC’s Community, and whether he’ll remain involved at all with the series he created at remains very much in doubt. Sony Pictures Television, which produces the series with Universal Television, has closed a deal with Happy Endings writers David Guarascio and Moses Port to join Community as showrunners and exec producers.
This is very disheartening news. Vulture also explains that Sony hired new showrunners without discussing with Harmon, which leads to the notion that he won’t be in a minor consulting role either.
Vulture hears that now that Sony made its deal with Guarascio and Port, it plans to ask Harmon to remain involved as a writer and consultant — but not as the person in charge of the show. (He’s expected to remain a “consulting producer” no matter what). Given Sony’s decision to make a deal for Harmon’s replacement without telling Harmon directly, it seems a longshot that Harmon will agree to a diminished role.
Click through for Joe Adalian’s full, detailed write up.
Television: The Revolution | New York
There are several great reads for TV fans:
Meth Whiz (Aaron Paul profile)
The Do-Over (A note about Happy Endings)
The New Girls (A discussion with six female showrunners)
The Watercooler Is in the Cloud (#AppointmentTV)46 Minutes With George Stephanopoulos
I’m really not supposed to be commenting on the situation, which I think is great advice, because anything I say will extend the story’s life and cause more fans discomfort. But as a guy who blogs or tweets every time he wipes his butt, hugs his cat or hurts his girlfriend, it’s conspicuously weird of me to say nothing at all about the giant fart with my name on it that you’ve been inhaling. It feels dishonest not to acknowledge it, it feels rude to the caring fans of the show, people who are tweeting me their concerns that I’ve jeopardized something they fight to protect, those are the sentiments that are [rightfully] the most painful because every choice I make, I try to make for the good of the show, and the show is not an expression of my ego or entitlement, it’s an expression of my desire to make strangers happy. When that’s not happening, when I’ve done something that hurts an audience, it’s always an accident. So I have to just acknowledge my mistake and apologize for it to the fans. Even the people that hate the show that are tweeting heckles at me are right, I’m a selfish baby and a rude asshole and not a person to trust with your feelings.
But the people that I really want to apologize to are the fans of the show. If you want to know what’s on my mind that I consider worth the attention of five million people, that’s the place to look, Thursdays at 8 on TV. Those are the stories and the jokes and observations about life and personal confessions that I intend for that large a venue. There is also a monthly show I do in the back of a comic book store in Los Angeles in which I say things that I intend for 150 people to hear. I tell stories about what an unlovable asshole I am and the trouble it causes for me. I rant and rave about the world’s failure to meet my standards, I talk about being drunk and stupid and heartbroken and childish and crazy and self-obsessed and self loathing and how much I love myself for it. The people that show up are paying ten dollars to listen to it, if you can believe that, and they made the drive out and put that cash on the barrel because they love or hate me but are fascinated by how much I fascinate myself - or their boyfriend made them go.
It was in that venue, months ago, that I made the horrible, childish, self-obsessed, unaware, naive and unprofessional decision to play someone’s voicemail to me. He didn’t intend for 150 people to listen and giggle at it, and I didn’t intend for millions of people to read angry reports about it. I was doing what I always do, and always get in trouble for doing, and always pay a steep price for doing. I was thinking about myself and I was thinking about making people laugh. I was airing my dirty laundry for a chuckle. I ask people at those shows repeatedly to please think twice about youtubing clips of it because it doesn’t play well outside the back of a comic book store. I always accept the risk that a well-intending fan will upload clips and something scandalous will break wide, but the giant mistake I made was involving someone else in that game of russian roulette, someone that didn’t have an opportunity to say “yeah, hilarious, let’s do this.” That was a dumb, unclassy, inconsiderate move on my part. I’m very sorry it’s reflecting poorly on the show.
It’s important to me that you not mistake this for someone thinking they’re making it better, or explaining that they’re actually a swell person. I’m explaining that you’re right, I’m a bonehead, and it sucks, it blows up in my face on a regular basis. I put an unhealthy amount of stock in the opinions of strangers, that’s exactly what makes me do stupid things, and, poetically, that’s what makes the punishment so effective. Thirty people a day calling me an asshole makes me know and feel, in my heart, that I am an asshole. I’m a real “customer is always right” kind of guy in that regard.
So, when you see me not talking about this, it’s not because I’m trying to get away with something, it’s because the more I say, the worse it gets. This is a topic that is driving ad sale revenue for a week but causing my favorite people in the world - Community fans - distress. So my desire, like yours, is to wait for it to pass. And don’t worry about the show. I agree with you that the show is what’s important. It’s why I get mad when I get mad. It’s why I’m happy when I’m happy. I will always do everything I can to make sure we get our six seasons and a move. I’m just really sorry that I’m so damn bad at that job in so many specific ways, and I promise you that every time I screw up at it, I try to get better.
Now I’ve got finish editing episode 319, and get politely scolded for commenting on the situation. If you’re reading this and you work in PR, I know, I know, I’m sorry and I’m not going to say any more.
And when have I ever let you guys down, right?
This is well said. Unless there are major developments (concerning the show itself), I’m likely going to back off this for a while.
Oh jeez. This certainly complicates things. TMZ is reporting from an unnamed Community-staff source that Chevy’s walking off the set was handled very professionally and that Harmon was out of line when he “unloaded on him” at the wrap party. In general the source makes it clear that he stands behind Chevy.