Dan Harmon: 'Community's' Future "Bleak" After Yahoo Exec's Departure

"That changing is a little bit of a dent in the optimism," Harmon tells THR of Kathy Savitt, who championed the show at Yahoo, having left the company for STX Digital.
The 'Community' cast and Dan Harmon  

A Yahoo exec's recent departure could mean that school's out for Community fans. 

Dan Harmon, the show's creator, tells The Hollywood Reporter that Yahoo chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt having left last month to become president of digital at STX Entertainment means that the show is without its primary champion at the company, which could affect its chances of landing a seventh season.

Read more Joel McHale on Fate of 'Community': It's Not "Affordable" to Keep Making Show

Referring to Savitt as "our beloved benefactor," Harmon says of her departure: "I, of course, as a narcissist and a self-loathing person, when I read that [she was leaving Yahoo], I blamed myself. Like, I only know one thing that she did, and I think she got fired for it — which was hire me."

Harmon admits that a seventh season currently seems less likely, now that Savitt is gone. 

"That changing is a little bit of a dent in the optimism — I'm trying to find out a way [to say it]," he says. "That makes it look a little more bleak just because before she was gone, she was the person that anyone could pick up the phone and say, 'Let's make this Community thing happen,' whatever it was, and she's the reason it would get done."

"And again, I say half-joking and half-sincerely, maybe that's why she's gone because she believed in the show and loved it so much," he continues.

Harmon's Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland tells THR that Netflix turning Wet Hot American Summer into a series more than a decade after the cult film's theatrical release suggests that Community fans — who have adopted "six seasons and a movie" as a mantra for their hopes for the series — shouldn't completely give up hope, particularly for that eventual film. 

"Anything can happen," Harmon agrees. "Even the Yahoo deal itself goes to show you, this is a strange Valhalla we're living in now where you just don't know." 

NBC canceled the Joel McHale sitcom in 2014 after five seasons, and Savitt was then instrumental in bringing it to Yahoo. The sixth season was made available to stream earlier this year, but McHale said in August that a seventh season would be unlikely, given that the cast's contracts were up after six years.

"All the actors on the show, almost without exception — their stock has risen significantly, and it’s out of the pay rate that is affordable to make the show," McHale said. "So you're not going to be able to get Alison Brie (Annie) or Gillian Jacobs (Britta) at a normal television salary anymore. There is just not enough money to be able to pay for the show."

At that time, a Yahoo rep said that the company and Sony Pictures Television, which produces Community, were continuing to "discuss future opportunities" for the show.

A Yahoo rep declined to comment further for this story. 

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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