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It was good news for ABC's Suburgatory earlier this month when the bubble-show received a renewal for its third season. Unfortunately, that pick-up came at a price for the comedy. Rex Lee and Alan Tudyk will not be returning to the comedy next year when Suburgatory returns for Season 3 during midseason. And there make be more big changes to come, in the interest of cutting down the budget for the series.
Deadline says Tudyk and Lee's contracts were not renewed, citing budget cuts for the reason they've been ousted from the show. There is talk of either or both returning as guest stars, but in the meantime, it sounds like viewers should expect a lot less of Noah Werner and Mr. Wolfe.
Lee played the guidance counselor at the high school where Tessa (series star Jany Levy) attends, while Tudyk played the best friend to Jeremy Sisto's George Altman. Noah was often the helping hand to George in teaching him the ropes about suburban life, having been through the transition of moving from the city to the suburbs. Both characters' absence will be noticeable. Though they played supporting roles, they were both series regulars.
Deadline says other regulars could be cut or reduced to recurring as the show looks to further trim the budget. Because the comedy's focus is split between George and Tessa's story-lines - though there's some obvious overlap, since they're father and daughter - the comedy has a sizable main cast, which also includes Allie Grant, Cheryl Hines, Carly Chaikin, Ana Gasteyer and Chris Parnell.
Eliminating two characters completely seems like a drastic move. Why not reduce their roles to recurring? Maybe that wasn't a financial option, or - pure speculation here - it may have come down to an all-or-nothing situation for the actors. Being tied to a TV show limits an actor's availability for other projects. Assuming either actor was offered the option to return as recurring, they'd only be in the show on a limited basis, and still less available for other roles, which may not have been a good option for either. But again, that's just speculation. Deadline doesn't mention anything about negotiations, only that their Suburgatory contracts were not picked up for next season. On the bright side, talk of guest star appearance indicates that we might not have seen the last of either actor on the comedy.