Former ‘M*A*S*H’ Showrunner Says ‘Community’ Might Be Better Off than Dan Harmon

Ken Levine is a TV writer that has worked on some of the most acclaimed sitcoms there are: M*A*S*H, Cheers, The Simpsons, Frasier, and Becker (just kidding about the last one). He took over as showrunner of M*A*S*H when creator Larry Gelbart left. This gives him a unique perspective on the whole Dan Harmon situation so he wrote a must-read blog post about it. He still has hope for the show as he writes:

Shows tend to survive without the original creative force. Even WEST WING when Aaron Sorkin was sacked. Even MASH when Larry Gelbart quit. MASH is a perfect example. If they could replace the genius of Larry Gelbart with a couple of knuckleheads like me and my partner and the show still survived, then you know it’s pretty bulletproof.

There is a lot of uproar right now but Levine points out that firing showrunners isn’t new, just hearing about it is. Eventually, things will settle into some sort of normalcy. New Community showrunners, David Guarascio and Moses Port, have already started trying to restore equilibrium by scheduling meetings with several Community writers. It’s hard to say if the show will be better or worse or different but there will be a show because, as they say, it must go on.

Levine, however, is a bit more concerned with Harmon’s future. He writes:

 I worry that Dan going public with this will ultimately hurt him. Other networks might put him in the “too much trouble” bin. He’s a talented guy but he’s yet to create FRIENDS. And I wonder, is this worth it? Besides getting all this stuff off his chest, what is the upside of going worldwide with this feud? Yes, your fanboys rally around you and you’re a media martyr, but they’re not the people who can say “yes” to your next project. They can’t make the decisions that will shape your career.

He does have that Adult Swim pilot but that is not even in the pick-up stage yet. Dan Harmon is a great writer, which Levine acknowledges, so hopefully a lot of cooler heads will prevail and he is able to find a new home for his brand of comedy.

Former ‘M*A*S*H’ Showrunner Says ‘Community’ Might Be […]