×

Hurwitz takes a hike

'Arrested' creator bails as showrunner

“Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz says he will not be continuing with the series, throwing a major — likely fatal — monkey wrench into attempts to keep the Emmy-winning laffer alive for a fourth season.

Series producers 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine Television had agreed on a deal to move “Arrested,” previously on Fox, to Showtime — assuming Hurwitz was willing to come back. In the end, however, a mix of creative and financial concerns has prompted Hurwitz to move on.

“The fans have been so ardent in their devotion and in return … I’ve given everything I can to the show in order to try to live up to their expectations,” Hurwitz told Daily Variety on Monday in a telephone interview from Gotham. “I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn’t continue to deliver that on a weekly basis.”

Nonetheless, Hurwitz said he put off making a final decision on his involvement so Showtime and 20th could talk about a possible deal.

“Of course, if there was enough money in it, I would have happily abandoned the fans’ need for quality. But as it turns out, there wasn’t,” he said.

Indeed, Hurwitz and 20th have long been at odds over finances, sparring over everything from the show’s budget to Hurwitz’s own compensation. The two sides were unable to come to terms on an overall deal last year, and while creative concerns were clearly at play in Hurwitz’s decision, coin may have been a key factor, insiders said.

Hurwitz said he had briefed most of the show’s cast about his decision, as well as some of the writers. He also talked with exec producer-narrator Ron Howard, who asked Hurwitz if he would be willing to continue as a consultant on “Arrested” should 20th and Imagine find a network willing to continue the skein without Hurwitz.

“I said I’d be happy to do that, but that as showrunner, I’ve gone as far as I can go,” he said.

Showtime entertainment topper Bob Greenblatt made it clear in January that Hurwitz’s participation in the show was essential to a deal (Daily Variety, Jan. 20). With Hurwitz out of the equation, Showtime is no longer a viable home for “Arrested,” insiders said.

It doesn’t help that one of Hurwitz’s key deputies, exec producer Jim Valleley, also says he won’t do the show without his boss. “We couldn’t do the show without Mitch Hurwitz, and I wouldn’t want to be the guy who tried,” Valleley said, who called the apparent end of the show “heartbreaking.”

Hurwitz said he had lunch with Showtime entertainment chief Bob Greenblatt even though he was leaning against continuing with the show. “He was actually very persuasive in telling me how much he believed in the show. I walked away thinking, ‘Maybe,’ ” Hurwitz said.

Despite word of tension between Hurwitz and 20th, scribe said the studio and its sister net deserve credit for having produced and aired three seasons of the show.

“I can honestly say I’m appreciative. They put a lot of money into this, and I put a lot of my life into this,” he said.

He also hinted that while “Arrested” may have run its course as a TV show as far as he’s concerned, he would be interested in reviving the franchise as a feature film.

Reps for 20th and Showtime declined comment. One person familiar with the studio’s thinking, however, said fans of the show shouldn’t write an obit for “Arrested” just yet, noting 20th is the studio that revived “Family Guy.”

(Denise Martin contributed to this report.)

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content