Bill Lawrence Exiting as 'Cougar Town' Showrunner After TBS Move

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Less than a week after the announcement that TBS would air a 15-episode fourth season of Cougar Town, following low ratings on ABC, showrunner and co-creator Bill Lawrence is stepping down.

First reported by Vulture, the EP, along with fellow co-creator Kevin Biegel, is leaving day-to-day duties during the upcoming run of the series. A source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter they will instead serve as an executive consultants. ABC Studios, which produces the series, has begun to search for a replacement, which may likely come from someone in Lawrence's camp.

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The cast of Cougar Town was on hand for Wednesday's Turner Networks upfront in New York, where they were not joined by Lawrence.

Lawrence's Doozer production banner inked a long-term deal with Warner Bros. TV in 2011, which allowed him to stay on with the show for another year before focusing all of his attention on development with the studio. Lawrence and WBTV had a pilot in contention at Fox, the semi autobiographical comedy Like Father, but it was not picked up for the 2012/2013 season.

The showrunner's efforts to the series did not seem to waffle during its beleaguered third season. Lawrence embarked on a tour around the U.S. to screen and promote the show at one point and threw an unofficial cocktail mixer at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in January to build buzz for the delayed run.

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