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Harmon, McKenna: ‘Community’ Save Was Last-Second #TCA15 - Broadcasting & Cable

Harmon, McKenna: ‘Community’ Save Was Last-Second #TCA15

Producers say Yahoo deal came through hours before writers’ options expired
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Related: Complete Coverage of TCA Winter Press Tour

Pasadena, Calif.— Yahoo’s pickup of Community for a sixth season following the show’s cancelation by NBC came down to the wire, the show’s executive producers told reporters Tuesday at the TCA winter press tour.

“Having finalized on June 30, I think all the actors' contracts were up,” said executive producer Chris McKenna. “We got a call that afternoon at 2 saying this is happening and ‘Oh, you have three hours to pick up your writers’ options.’”

Creator and executive producer Dan Harmon said that he had been anticipating Sony, the show’s studio, to cut a deal with Hulu, not Yahoo.

“There were a lot of last-minute phone calls, including [chief marketing officer] Kathy Savitt from Yahoo, calmingly having a 40-minute conversation with me in which she turned me 180 degrees by explaining Yahoo’s perspective on the whole thing, how they were going to do business,” Harmon said. “It was all happening in the last eight hours of its legality.”

Yahoo began the show’s session by announcing that the new season would premiere March 17.

Other highlights from the panel included:

• “I’m definitely not writing it as if it’s the end,” Harmon said of the sixth season. He added, “I would never feel very comfortable walking away from any version of Community that was existing. In my mind I have to continue to write the show as if it was lasting for 20 seasons.”

• Asked about his relationship with Sony, Harmon said, “We’ve been there so long that there were people who were just the new kids at Sony who are now the only people that we have to talk to, so everything works great. All the people that I’ve had contentious relationships with, we don’t really have to talk to each other, we’re very polite to each other. We need each other. It’s a co-dependent relationship.”

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