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The actor, who had starred as patriarch Murray Goldberg on the ABC comedy from producers Sony Pictures Television for the past eight-plus seasons, has departed the series following an HR investigation that stemmed from multiple complaints about his behavior on the set of the 1980s-set series.
The cast and crew of The Goldbergs were informed of Garlin’s departure during production Wednesday, when a veteran producer told staff that the decision was a mutual one between Garlin and Sony. Garlin, who had been expected to continue filming the current ninth season, will no longer complete work on The Goldbergs. Sources note Garlin was not expected to return for a potential 10th season of The Goldbergs, should ABC opt to renew the series for the 2022-23 broadcast cycle.
Reps for ABC, Sony TV and Garlin declined comment.
The news follows a Vanity Fair investigation into/interview with Garlin in which he addressed an alleged pattern of verbal and physical conduct that made staffers on the ABC series uncomfortable. “There has been an HR investigation on me the past three years. HR has come to me three years in a row for my behavior on set,” Garlin told Vanity Fair’s Maureen Ryan in a story published Dec. 3.
“[A]s a comedian, if somebody is offended by what I say, all I can say is, I’m sorry. OK? I have never physically come at anyone, for any reason, so that I find terribly confusing and untrue,” Garlin said in the story when informed of reports that staffers on The Goldbergs felt demeaned and disrespected by some of his language and physical actions.
Garlin was one of the original stars of The Goldbergs, which is currently in its ninth season on Disney-owned ABC. It’s unclear how the series will handle his departure after the actor previously told VF that he didn’t expect to be fired. At the time of the interview, only seven or eight episodes in the season were left to shoot. The actor also noted that he did not want to return to the series for its ninth season because of the HR complaints, but did so in part because the show truncated his shooting schedule.
The Goldbergs had been relatively free of controversy during its run. The series weathered sexual misconduct allegations around former recurring player Bryan Callen, who toplined ABC/Sony’s short-lived 1990s-set spinoff, Schooled. Callen has not appeared on The Goldbergs since the allegations came out in a July 2020 Los Angeles Times report. (Callen denied the allegations.)
The Goldbergs is a semiautobiographical comedy based on the childhood of series creator Adam F. Goldberg. Goldberg served as showrunner until season seven, when he moved his overall deal from Sony to Disney. Alex Barnow and Chris Bishop — who have been with series since its debut — have helmed the series since then and exec produce alongside Doug Robinson and star Wendi McLendon-Covey, among others. The cast also includes Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia and Sam Lerner. The comedy said a fond farewell to the late George Segal last season after the beloved actor’s death in March.
Sony, meanwhile, has also faced challenges this year around Jeopardy! and fired showrunner Mike Richards after he selected himself as the permanent host for the syndicated game show. Following a string of guest host “auditions,” Richards was announced as the late Alex Trebek’s replacement in August, after which press — including THR — reported on the discrimination lawsuits Richards was involved in during his time as executive producer on The Price Is Right. Other reports included the crude and offensive jokes he made during a short-lived podcast he hosted from 2013 to 2014. Richards filmed one day — a week’s worth of Jeopardy! episodes — before stepping down as host. Sony fired him as showrunner not long afterward.
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