‘Community’ Creator Dan Harmon Reflects on Getting Fired by NBC

Published 3 years ago by

danharmon layingoncouch Community Creator Dan Harmon Reflects on Getting Fired by NBC

It’s no secret that Community creator Dan Harmon won’t be back for the NBC comedy series’ fourth season this fall (producers David Guarascaio and Moses Port are taking over), but the producer is finally speaking out  and reflecting on the network’s decision to fire him from his own show. Basically, it comes down to show business and the need for high ratings in order to keep a series alive. Harmon knows that he was not giving NBC or Sony Pictures Television the results they required and admits, “I would have fired me.”

Harmon’s not looking to apologize or beg for another chance at the Peacock network. In fact, the firing really didn’t affect his career in TV outside of Community. Harmon talked to KCRW’s The Business (via THR) and said:

“All of the networks came a-calling. Everyone in basic cable, especially. Once you have a three-season show, it really doesn’t matter that there’s some rumor circulated out there by the people who made the strange decision to fire you — of course they’re going to create the idea that we were difficult to work with.”

And while Harmon doesn’t flat out admit that he’s not an easy guy to work with (his public fight with cast member Chevy Chase probably didn’t help) he does touch on some of his potentially “self-destructive” behavior that might make it seem like he’s difficult to work with, mainly his writing of blog posts and public statements that started with claims that he wasn’t good at his job. It was that kind of talk that Sony believed and Harmon comments, “Sony was always so bummed out about the way I wrote and thought, and they always fantasized about doing the show without me.”

danharmon greendalesign Community Creator Dan Harmon Reflects on Getting Fired by NBC

And for those who were glad that Community didn’t get canceled in addition to Harmon’s firing, his talk about the reasoning might make you change your tune. Obviously, Harmon is bias when it comes to this matter, but he points out that the network ordering only a 13-episode fourth season (which brings the total to 88 episodes) is basically them saying, “We’re going to smother it with a pillow very quietly.” The partial season order is mostly due to the fact that it’ll make the show more appealing for syndication.

NBC will consider more episodes for this season, or perhaps even a whole new season, if the show performs. With Community being bumped from Thursdays to Fridays however, an air date that usually spells doom for most series (Fringe being the biggest recent exception to the rule), expectations on future seasons are considerably low.

community castshot studyroom Community Creator Dan Harmon Reflects on Getting Fired by NBC

Harmon knows that when it comes down to it, he wasn’t getting the kind of response, at least in ratings, that the network or studio wanted to see.

“Sony’s job is to take that shot clock and do whatever they can with it. They’re not going to hand the ball to the guy that spent three years losing in the ratings race and not turning a script over until I felt it was finished. If your ratings are high and there’s money being made, you’re allowed to be a perfectionist in television.”

And if the new showrunners fail, then the network will be even more justified in their short order for Community’s assumed final season without Dan Harmon, and there won’t be any regrets. Well, there is one regret. As Harmon says, “I think I would have made a little bit more of fun with the people that I’ll obviously never work with again.”

Source: The Business (via THR)

TAGS: Community
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  1. Let’s be honest folks, Harmon is 100% correct about the move to Fridays.
    If somehow it works out NBC can order more episodes and claim to be heros for saving the show.
    If it doesn’t they can cancel it and say oh well we tried.
    That’s why I’ve just come to accept that this will end after next year and Community will join the ranks of great shows that the network messed up and canceled before it’s time…

  2. I think it had kind of run it’s course anyway. American TV seasons are way too long that by the third or fourth season they inevitably start to go stale.

  3. Sooner or later networks are going to have to realize that ratings aren’t going to be the true measure of a shows worth. People PVR, DVR, download and stream a lot of TV today because it fits their schedule better. The days of everyone having to tune in at a particular time are coming to an end. I love “Community” but even I didn’t watch the broadcasts, I watch it when I want to watch it.

  4. i think the shows ratings wouldve doubled if it’s time slot was only changed by a half hour.

    Look at the shows primary demographic. Males 18-35. The highest rated show in the demographic on tv is “The Big Bang Theory”. Both are clever and smart shows that are focus on appealing to (for lack of better words) nerds and people who enjoy a smarter show. For the last 3 years, NBC has been airing “Community” at the exact same time as “BBT” and that has hurt their ratings. I could never watch “Community” while it was on because i watched “BBT”, i’d always watch community off my dvr. Changing the show’s time only a half hour so it’s up against “Mike and Molly”, who’s audience is a bit older and less nerd oriented, it would stand a better chance in the ratings. A friday move is drastic and obvious that the studio doesnt have faith in the show working at all, regardless of timeslot

    • Let me preface this by saying you have the right to watch whichever show you want when you want so this isn’t a personal attack or anything, but as a fan of both shows as well and knowing many who are a fan of both, I’ve never understood why people choose to watch the more popular show (BBT in this case) over the equally as entertaining but ratings challenged show like Community. This was the exact reason I chose to watch Community live when I had cable and watched BBT on the DVR as I knew there were enough viewers for BBT and it was never at risk as much as Community was.

  5. I’m glad Community is getting a last chance and at least getting to properly wrap up storylines, but have come to accept that these last 13 are probably it as well. The first season was great, but it seemed in season 2/3 they tried too hard with the themed episodes and I found them to be hit or miss. When they hit though, it was a home run, the multiverse episode and the video game episode were standouts from this past season.

  6. :(