May 23, 2012 7:44pm PT by Seth Abramovitch
Leaked Memo: 'Community' Studio Tells Cast How to Address Dan Harmon Firing
In the wake of Community creator Dan Harmon’s firing from the NBC comedy, studio Sony Pictures Television is taking steps to minimize backlash in the media.
The Hollywood Reporter has obtained a talking-points memo sent from the studio to cast and show representatives during the weekend. The memo, titled "Community Message Points," includes point-by-point suggestions on how to deal with the inevitable deluge of questions surrounding Harmon's abrupt departure from the low-rated critical darling. The studio confirmed Friday that David Guarascio and Moses Port would be replacing Harmon as showrunner when the series returns to NBC’s schedule for its fourth season in September.
Harmon, known for his erratic behavior, took to his own blog later that night to blast both the studio and network for what he characterizes as a mishandling of the situation. After noting that he wasn’t contacted by either, he says: “Community is [Sony’s] property, I only own 10 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.” Cast members later expressed solidarity with Harmon via Twitter.
Here's the memo:
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 we're glad 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.