TCA: ‘Community’ Creator Dan Harmon Sounds Off on NBC, Adult Swim

'Community' creator prepping the launch of his first animated effort with 'Rick and Morty'

At the TCA panel for his forthcoming Adult Swim series “Rick and Morty,” it was almost impossible for Dan Harmon to avoid questions regarding his uproarious year following his departure from and return to NBC comedy “Community.”

Harmon offered kind words to NBC during the Turner TCA session, dubbing the Peacock “incredibly permissive” when it came to the creative liberties he was able to take during his initial run on “Community.”

“NBC was in the business of critical darlings,” Harmon mentioned.

Many journos lobbed questions at Harmon inquiring whether he now maintains more conservative approach to how he deals with networks and executives after several highly-publicizes blowouts with NBC, Sony and actors, including “Community” cast member Chevy Chase.

“I walk with god and he protects me,” Harmon quipped, before more seriously stating, “I don’t politic…I suffer no illusions that I generate things myself. I surround myself with loyalists, and people that I would die for. I would rather die than make bad stuff for people because I’m a terrible dishwasher, and a terrible lover, and a terrible pet owner, and this is my only recourse to go to bed having done anything with merit…Overall, it allows me to fail upward.”

He continued: “If I had been invited back [to ‘Community’] and not gone back, the worst case scenario would be 30 years of wondering what would have happened. If I went back, the worst thing that could happen is one shitty season.”

In spite of the drama experience by Harmon while working at one of the Big Four, he is nevertheless a fan of the broad medium, noting that he grew up watching network television with his parents and hopes writing for network TV doesn’t become a “dying art form.”

One journalist asked if the “constraints” Harmon faces at NBC would turn him away from working at one of the Big Four again once “Community” comes to a close.

“The constraints you’re describing are the same as iambic pentameter, haikus,” Harmon explained. “It’s a different way to reach an audience…and I want to step up to that plate and do it often as possible.”

Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” marks Harmon’s first foray in the animated sphere, and the scribe remarked that “you very quickly learn that you have to be strategic about your resources” in the same way you must be with live-action budgets.

Per Harmon and fellow creator and exec producer Justin Roiland, “Rick and Morty” derives inspiration from “‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ a little ‘Back to the Future’ and a heavy dose of ‘Dr. Who.'” Toon comedy centers on a sociopathic scientist who drags his unintelligent grandson on a dangerous adventure across the universe. Harmon voices one of the characters on the show, and drew a comparison to network notes at Adult Swim versus NBC, where the scribe has a tumultuous history with laffer “Community,” which Harmon has ankled and then returned to for the upcoming season.

“[Adult Swim exec veep] Mike Lazzo is a bonafide, actual genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Harmon remarked. “He has the autonomy, humility and mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is — which is a document — and tell you what his reactions are as an individual as he reads it…He never says, ‘I don’t think people are going to like this,’ or branches out into speculation about this biomass. He never says ‘People are going to respond this way when this happens, and he also never confuses the script with the finished product.”

Harmon added: “The big, bad suits don’t exist at Adult Swim.”

“Rick and Morty” will bow in December and is produced by Starburns Industries.

More TV

  • SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases

    SDCC TV News Roundup: Syfy Releases 'The Magicians' Season 5 Clip (Watch)

    In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, Syfy shares a clip from “The Magicians” Season 5, and Amazon sets the Season 4 premiere of “The Expanse.” CASTING Julie Gonzalo and Staz Nair have joined the cast of “Supergirl” for its upcoming fifth season. Gonzalo will portray iconic DC character Andrea Rojas aka Acrata, a polished businesswoman [...]

  • Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 --

    'Doom Patrol' Renewed, Season 2 to Stream on DC Universe and HBO Max

    “Doom Patrol” has been renewed for a second season and will soon be available outside of DC Universe. At San Diego Comic-Con, series executive producer Jeremy Carver and star Diane Guerrero announced not only that the show will be back for another season but also that it will be available on HBO Max, the upcoming [...]

  • Teyonah Parris

    Teyonah Parris Cast in 'WandaVision' at Disney Plus

    “Mad Men” and “If Beale Street Could Talk” actress Teyonah Parris has been cast in Disney Plus’ “Wanda Vision” series. She will play an adult version of Monica Rambeau, a child character introduced in the film “Captain Marvel.” The announcement was made at Marvel’s Comic-Con presentation. The forthcoming Disney+ series about Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth [...]

  • Zachary Quinto as Charlie Manx - NOS4A2

    'NOS4A2' Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

    AMC has renewed “NOS4A2” for a second season. The news was announced during the show’s panel at San Diego Comic-Con and ahead of the Season 1 finale. Season 2 will consist of 10 episodes and is slated to air in 2020. The series, which is based on the 2013 Joe Hill novel of the same [...]

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Signs Netflix Deal With Expanded Coverage

    SAG-AFTRA and streaming giant Netflix have agreed to a new three-year contract with expanded coverage for union performers. Netflix has previously employed SAG-AFTRA members under the union’s standard master contracts for television and film and had been signing on a production by production basis. The union announced Saturday that the new deal recognizes performance capture as covered work [...]

  • Cara Delevingne'Carnival Row' TV show photocall,

    Cara Delevingne Says Her 'Carnival Row' Character Is Pansexual, Explains Defending Taylor Swift Against Justin Bieber

    Cara Delevingne and Orlando Bloom’s love affair may be at the center of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series “Carnival Row,” but the British actress doesn’t want viewers to assume her faerie character is heterosexual. “I’m a pansexual faerie,” Delevingne told Variety during an exclusive one-on-one interview at Comic-Con adding that there are other queer [...]

  • 'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins

    'Russian Doll' Star Charlie Barnett Joins 'Arrow' Final Season

    “Russian Doll” standout Charlie Barnett is joining the “Arrowverse.” Barnett, who is having a busy year having also appeared in Netflix’s “Tales of the City,” comes on board in the series regular role of John Diggle, Jr., son of David Ramsey’s character. News of his casting was announced at the show’s farewell Comic-Con panel where things [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content