So Friday night, Sony and NBC announced they were bringing in new showrunners for Community's fourth season. Creator Dan Harmon would be kept on as a "Consulting Producer," and that was that. Of course, "Consulting Producer" means jack-all -- and Sony and NBC never even spoke to Harmon about replacing him. I could explain that part of the story more, but Dan Harmon himself elaborates on the topic better.
This is, frankly, an insane move on the part of Sony and NBC.
Community is a show with a singular vision. This unique tone is the direct result of it's dedicated, occasionally obsessive, creator. The reason it has such a freakishly rabid fanbase is because of this, and it's the reason there are people willing to do anything for the show.
Now, networks and studios replace show runners all the time, and ten years ago, replacing a show runner like this whose program had a particular voice would be difficult, but not really indicative of a fan revolt. When Aaron Sorkin left the West Wing, while he was admired, the fans were willing to give the show a chance without him. We live in a different age now though.
With Community, fans have directly connected to the shows stars, writers - and yes, creator. Dan Harmon maintains a solid presence on Twitter and Tumblr, and the fans have connected directly to him. Not only is his voice directly heard through the show, but it's a two way conversation. Fans of Community have connected not just with the characters, but with the heart and soul of the show itself in Dan Harmon.
So while the show has been renewed for a fourth season, things look even grimmer than before. Community without Dan Harmon won't just drop in quality, but many loyal fans of the show won't tune in at all. And while the network is hoping to make it more mainstream with the new showrunners, I don't think said "mainstream" is going to tune in either regardless what they do at this point.
So... they'll lose the old viewers and they won't gain new ones. From a business perspective, this is short sighted and just a tad ridiculous.
But it's NBC and Sony. I shouldn't really have expected anything else.
In my opinion, NBC has been making stupid moves for a while. I don't understand half the moves they make anymore. Maybe my viewpoints aren't matching enough for the viewership they want but it's also turned me off from NBC altogether. I'm still bitter fo My Name is Earl being cancelled and I am angry the Conan O'Brien never go axed from the Tonight show after not even a full year. so yeah NBC really is becoming retarded. Also to add, does anyone really like 30 Rock because I honestly don't understand any of it's humor?
Yeah there's my rant for NBC so I understand your grief Trae.
I think your mentioning of Aaron Sorkin leaving the West Wing is somewhat illustrative of why fans are harder pressed to put up with this sort of thing. That was a perfect example of a blatantly noticable change in the rhythm, tone, and overall feel of a show without it's originator.
In this case, it is bad enough that they would choose to replace him, but it is far worse that they would allow for it to happen without him being told properly.
Sorkin is my go-to example of this. The difference is that The West Wing was a much more popular show, so when they removed Sorkin and the ratings dropped (mostly due to the drop in show quality), but not so much to end it.
(And for the record, I do like post-Sorkin West Wing, but it really is an entirely different show -- and Season 5 is so poorly written...)