'Transparent' Unlikely to Return This Year in Wake of Jeffrey Tambor Exit (Exclusive)

Jill Soloway attends the 2017 Outfest Los Angeles LGBT Film Festival - Getty-H 2017
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Two weeks after Amazon Studios announced that Emmy winner Jeffrey Tambor would not be returning to play lead Maura Pfefferman on Transparent following sexual harassment claims lodged by two colleagues, The Hollywood Reporter has learned that production on the Jill Soloway comedy has been scheduled to begin at the end of the year, possibly in December.

That would mean that the critical favorite will not air in 2018. (The series had been slated to resume production and air this year before Tambor’s dismissal.)

It is unclear just how much the new episodes will have to be rewritten, but Soloway and their team — including Jill Gordon, who takes over as showrunner for season five — have months to finalize a plan. (While all of the actors who play Pfeffermans — including Judith Light, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass and Gaby Hoffmann — have their own story arcs, Tambor's storyline has always been at the center of the show.)

It remains unclear if Amazon plans to recast the character — the series in the past had taken heat for not casting a trans actress for the role — or write out the center of the series.

The new start date comes as Amazon is in a period of transition after NBC’s Jennifer Salke was tapped in February to replace Roy Price as head of Amazon Studios. (Price was ousted after a producer went public in THR with a sexual harassment claim.) Transparent is but one of many questions that Salke — who has yet to officially begin her new position but, sources say, has already been involved in pitches — will have to address in her new post.

A question mark has been hanging over the Emmy-nominated comedy since accusations against Tambor first broke in November. "I don't see how I can return to Transparent," Tambor said after facing claims of misconduct. Tambor — who won an Emmy for playing the transgender character — was accused of acting inappropriately around former assistant Van Barnes and Transparent actress Trace Lysette, who both went on the record with their stories amid the #MeToo movement.

Soloway had remained silent while Amazon conducted a formal investigation into the matter, and once that was completed, they said that they had "great respect and admiration" for Barnes and Lysette. "We are taking definitive action to ensure our workplace respects the safety and dignity of every individual, and are taking steps to heal as a family," Soloway said after Tambor was dropped from the series.

As for Tambor, he has maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. "I am profoundly disappointed in Amazon's handling of these false accusations against me," Tambor said. "I am even more disappointed in Jill Soloway's unfair characterization of me as someone who would ever cause harm to any of my fellow cast mates. In our four-year history of working together on this incredible show, these accusations have NEVER been revealed or discussed directly with me or anyone at Amazon."

A version of this story first appeared in the March 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.