On Wednesday, there was a surprising announcement that Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe are both leaving the show halfway through the upcoming sixth season. Parks co-creator/showrunner Mike Schur released a statement that night that didn’t really reveal much, but while speaking to reporters at the TCA press tour yesterday afternoon, he revealed that it was a creative decision not a financial one. He said:
“Every network comes to you and says, ‘Cut costs,’ all the time. A reality of the network television game is they’ll always tell you to do impossible things with less and less money. But it wasn’t like, ‘Uh oh, we’ve got to hack away our cast’ … [Chris and Ann preparing to have a child together] felt like maybe this is the way they get moved off, into the next phase of their lives on the show … [The story] totally dovetailed and aligned with what the two actors envisioned for themselves in their careers. It’s a big happy mutual hug-fest celebration.”
Schur mentioned that Jones “was totally on board” with the decision, adding, “The real headline is that everyone is happy. There’s no controversy involved.” So, there’s what happened. It’s pretty respectable that the Parks writers would opt to move out long-term cast members once their characters’ story is over, instead of keeping everyone around forever anyway like most shows and it should be interesting to see how this transition is dealt with.