Chevy Chase and the executive producer of “Community” are reportedly locked in an ugly war of F-words that could mean the end of Chase’s employment on the show next season — if there is one.
An account of the rift between Chase, 68, and Dan Harmon — creator and show-runner on the NBC Thursday sitcom — can be found here on Deadline.com, which is basing its story on various accounts now filtering out on Saturday about how Chase and Harmon went at it as production on the show’s current season, its third, came to a close last month.
According to the Deadline account, Chase has often clashed with Harmon and other “Community” producers and writers over the various characteristics and qualities of his scenes. In the show, Chase plays an addle-brained older student attending Greendale Community College. The most recent blow-up between Harmon and Chase resulted in Chase allegedly leaving the set on the last day of shooting without filming his final scene.
What followed was an exchange of profane statements and voice-mail messages between the two. A link to some of the expletive-laden audio is included in the Deadline story.
“Community,” of course, is the NBC Thursday series that, like any show averaging only around 4 million viewers a week, has a 50-50 chance at best of being renewed for a fourth season. If the show does get a new season, it would remain to be seen if Chase would be a part of it.
Our take: If the Deadline account is true, then the odds don’t favor Chase returning for a new season (though that might depend on how many seasons he’s been guaranteed in his contract). This battle just seems too vicious for these two to ever come together and work together again effectively. Moreover, it’s not as if Chase’s character of Pierce is vital to the show. He can be replaced easily.
Chase, the breakout star of the original “Saturday Night Live” back in the ’70s and then a box-office draw as the star of a string of comedy movies back in the ’80s, has long had a reputation for generating friction with producers and directors. His role on “Community” represented a return to TV for him after a very long absence.