Ousted showrunner Dan Harmon knows he can be difficult to work with, but that doesn't mean he's gotten over being fired from NBC's "Community."
Harmon on Monday had strong words for his former bosses at Sony Pictures Television and the Peacock Network when he sat in on a radio program in Santa Monica. Speaking about "Community's" pending move to the so-called graveyard slot on Friday nights, the palpably embittered Harmon said that the powers that be were sending a clear message about their plans for the show: "We're going to smother it with a pillow very quietly," Harmon said.
NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt has defended the decision to move "Community" to Fridays for its 13-episode fourth season, saying that viewership for the show was a bit too narrow to justify its premium Thursday timeslot. In a May interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Greenblatt assured fans that the Friday-night slot was not a death sentence, saying that "'Community' tends to survive wherever it goes."
"Community" centers on a disparate group of community-college students in suburban Colorado. The fast-paced, pop-culture-laden comedy has consistently struggled in the ratings despite heaps of critical praise and an intensely devoted following. Harmon created the series after enrolling in Glendale Community College at the age of 32 to study Spanish with his then girlfriend.
Harmon was fired from the show in May after butting heads with Sony and spatting publicly with cast member Chevy Chase. In April, he leaked a scathing voicemail message from Chase in which the comic actor called "Community" a "mediocre sitcom."
On his blog, Harmon later apologized for the act. "I was doing what I always do, and always get in trouble for doing, and always pay a steep price for doing," he wrote. "I was thinking about myself and I was thinking about making people laugh. I was airing my dirty laundry for a chuckle."
But the 39-year-old writer/performer did not sound particularly repentant on Monday as he and his frequent contributor, Rob Schrab, discussed Harmon's firing on KCRW's "The Business."
"Once you have a three-season show, it really doesn't matter that there's some rumor circulated out there by the people who made the strange decision to fire you," he said. "Of course they're going to create the idea that we were difficult to work with."
He also implied that fans shouldn't be passing the hat around for him just yet, saying that he has fielded many offers since the ousting. "All of the networks came a calling," he claimed. "Everyone in basic cable, especially."
Harmon is currently developing an animated project for the 2012-13 season of "Adult Swim." He also said he was developing multi-camera sitcoms for CBS and Fox.
Despite his sour comments toward NBC and Sony, Harmon seemed to grasp the role his sometimes obsessive behavior played the firing. "If your ratings are high and there's money being made, you're allowed to be a perfectionist in television," he said. "They're not going to hand the ball to the guy that spent three years losing in the ratings race and not turning a script over until I felt it was finished."
However, he did voice one regret. "I think I would have made a little bit more of fun the people that I'll obviously never work with again."
The new season of "Community" is slated to air Friday nights beginning October 19.