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Two of Parks and Recreation‘s regulars are exiting the series.
Rob Lowe, who joined in season two, and Rashida Jones, a core player since the show’s inception, will depart NBC’s returning fall comedy in the middle of the upcoming sixth season, The Hollywood Reporter confirms.
Lowe and Jones are expected to leave Parks and Recreation — which was picked up for a full season — following the 13th episode. Buzzfeed first reported the departures. (Showrunner Mike Schur issued a statement hours after news broke.)
On Wednesday evening, Lowe tweeted his thanks to Schur: “Thanks @KenTremendous It has literally been a world class pleasure. I’m sure Chris will take great care of… Ann Perkins!!”
Parks and Recreation is one of two veteran comedies NBC renewed after cleaning house on the comedy side earlier this year in an effort to revamp its sitcom lineup. Community, NBC’s other returning comedy, has yet to receive a slot on NBC’s schedule and will feature Donald Glover in a reduced role for season five.
This won’t be the first time a main castmember has exited Parks and Recreation. Paul Schneider departed the comedy shortly after the addition of Lowe and Adam Scott in season two.
The Amy Poehler-led ensemble about a ragtag group of government employees was considered NBC’s only comedy that was a sure bet to return to the schedule for the 2013-14 season. The Thursday comedy has proved to be a launching pad for its cast, with co-stars Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones and Chris Pratt all inking deals for films, books, comedy tours and more. While the series has never been a ratings powerhouse for the network, it continues to generate positive reviews and be an awards-season magnet for Poehler. The series was shut out of the best comedy Emmy race, but Poehler again earned a lead actress nomination for her portrayal of dedicated public servant Leslie Knope.
For her part, Jones is active in the development world. She and her Celeste & Jesse Forever writing partner Will McCormack inked a two-year pod deal in January with Warner Bros. Television to write and produce comedy and drama projects for both cable and network TV.
Lowe, meanwhile, has remained busy outside of Parks and Recreation. The actor will star in Nat Geo’s upcoming Killing Kennedy adaptation and also appeared in HBO’s Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra.
Parks and Recreation is currently filming its one-hour premiere — which will air Sept. 26 as a kickoff to back-to-back episodes of new comedy The Michael J. Fox Show — in London.
Onscreen, Lowe and Jones have been an on-again, off-again couple. Most recently, their respective characters, Chris Trager and Ann Perkins, have been exploring children as she looks to her ex for a sperm donation, setting up a romantic reunion for the couple.
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