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May 20th, 2012

Community without Dan Harmon

News broke on Friday that Community, the little TV show with big fans, lost its showrunner Dan Harmon.

Now, I had a rough idea of how running a show worked from my interest in Doctor Who. That show has changed showrunners just once in its recent history and the show has changed pretty markedly as a result; the showrunner sets the overall tone and direction for a show… not unlike a creative director would.

My understanding is that the handoff between those two showrunners was a peaceful one, so seeing Harmon’s blog entry about what happened was pretty amazing. It shows just how much of a business decision this was, and amazingly, the guy only has 10% of a holding in the show. Sony owns the rest.

From a pure business perspective this makes nothing but sense for Sony. Community is a low-rated show on a low-rated network. It just barely got renewed for a short season. If you bring in someone new, you (presumably) get a chance to recoup your investment (I’m guessing the show isn’t making all that much money, and I’d further guess that it may be losing money – who knows.) This likely means that the tone of the show will change, though – after all, with its current style and geek-friendly vibe it just wasn’t getting a lot of viewers.

It’s too bad, really. Community was a very good show during its first three seasons. I’m not sure if it’ll be bad in its fourth, but it will certainly be different.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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