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Community fans have had months to come to terms with the fact that series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon was exiting the show and would not be involved in the NBC comedy's fourth season. And then we had to deal with the show being moved to Friday nights with an October premiere date set, which was later shifted to midseason. Now we can add "Chevy Chase is leaving" to the list of drastic changes for the show.
Deadline reported the news, stating that Chase, who plays Pierce Hawthorne in the comedy, and the producers are "parting ways by mutual agreement" effective immediately. On the bright side, for those who love the token curmudgeon of the study group, we'll see Pierce in Season 4 for most of the fourth season's 13 episodes, which have already been filmed. There are "1 or 2 episodes that have not been shot yet," so there may be a couple Pierceless installments in the upcoming season.
Let's face it. As bad as this news is, it's not entirely surprising given the reports of the issues Chase has had with the show. Deadline's article reminds us of negative comments Chase had made about the comedy and the publicized feud he had with Dan Harmon. It sounds like Chase's problems with the show and his character have persisted. Per Deadline:
According to people close to the actor, Chase had been increasingly frustrated and uncomfortable with the direction of his character, Pierce, who is a bigot, and had felt that the Pierce had run his course.
And I hate to say this, but Chase's exit might not even be all that noticeable in the grand scheme of things, considering it sounds like he'll only be gone for one or two episodes from Season 4. Given the show's short order and delayed premiere at NBC with a shift to midseason, things aren't looking good for Community's chances of renewal right now. But if the show does manage to survive to Season 5, we'll certainly notice the lack of Pierce in the comedy.