The ultimate goal is six seasons and a movie, but Community fans are getting something else on their wish list: Dan Harmon.
The creator of NBC’s community college-set comedy has officially signed on to return as executive producer/showrunner for season 5, the show’s studio, Sony TV, confirmed Monday. The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise, since more than a week ago, Harmon confirmed on Twitter that he was in the process of rejoining the show. But the original reports did shock fans, as Harmon was dismissed a year ago after clashing with the studio and network (and star Chevy Chase).
The departure of Harmon — who was considered the heart and brains of the adventurous and critically admired series — did not sit well with hard-core viewers. As executive producer David Guarascio, who was tapped with Moses Port to replace Harmon for season 4, noted to EW last year: “When Sony called us, honestly our first response was like, ‘Are you sure you don’t want Dan to do this? Because he seems really instrumental.’ While season 4 earned ratings that were on par with season 3’s, there was disappointment from critics and fans who felt that the episodes were missing Harmon’s hyper-specific creative spark. Port and Guarascio, who had a one-season deal, will not be back for season 5. Chris McKenna, a key writer-producer who also departed last May, will return with Harmon to serve as an executive producer.
Community was renewed for a fifth season last month, and those 13 episodes will air sometime during the 2013-14 season.