January 20, 2022

Dan Harmon Will Return to NBC’s ‘Community’

But then “Community” has never been your usual television show.

On Monday, Sony Pictures Television, the studio that produces “Community,” announced the return of that NBC comedy’s prodigal creator, Dan Harmon, who will be its show runner for the coming season after being pushed out of the top job a year ago.

In a statement Sony said that Mr. Harmon would return to “Community” for its fifth season, as would Chris McKenna, a writer and producer who has worked on previous seasons of the show. Each will have the title of executive producer, the studio said. Sony and NBC declined to comment further on Monday. Mr. Harmon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Under Mr. Harmon, a creator of “The Sarah Silverman Program,” “Community” evolved over its first three seasons from a show about the mismatched members of a college study group to a rapid-fire satire of science fiction, alternate realities and paintball contests gone awry.

But the audience for “Community” never grew much beyond its core fan base, whose members blogged and tweeted about it passionately; at the end of its third season it was drawing fewer than three million viewers for broadcasts of new episodes.

Even so, for NBC, a struggling if recognizable show like “Community” was evidently worth holding onto. While the network has had its overall problems in recent years, its prime-time comedy lineup — once an NBC hallmark — has been a particular challenge, and it has lost signature series like “30 Rock” and “The Office.”

Over the seasons Mr. Harmon has tested the patience of studio and network executives with what could be seen as a relentless pursuit of perfection or an unwillingness to adhere to deadlines. And he feuded publicly with the “Community” co-star Chevy Chase, who is not known as a retreating personality.

In May 2012, NBC renewed “Community” for an abbreviated 13-episode fourth season, but just as its devotees exhaled their sighs of relief, Mr. Harmon announced in a post on his personal blog that Sony was removing him as show runner.

In the post Mr. Harmon vented his frustrations at Sony, NBC and the network’s entertainment chairman, Robert Greenblatt, who had said that Mr. Harmon might continue on “Community” in some other capacity.

“That’s a misquote,” Mr. Harmon wrote. “I think he meant to say he’s sure cookies are yummy, because he’s never called me once in the entire duration of his employment at NBC.”

Seeming to slam the door on any future involvement with the show, Mr. Harmon added, “I’m not saying you can’t make a good version of ‘Community’ without me, but I am definitely saying that you can’t make my version of it unless I have the option of saying, ‘it has to be like this or I quit’ roughly 8 times a day.”

In its fourth season “Community” was run by the producers David Guarascio and Moses Port, who work as a team (“Happy Endings,” “Just Shoot Me”). They were criticized for trying to duplicate Mr. Harmon’s frenetic pop style without matching his wit or his heart. Reviewing the season for The New York Times, Mike Hale wrote, “Apparently the new producers know what we want, but they won’t, or can’t, give it to us.”

It did not help matters that NBC delayed the season premiere of “Community” to Feb. 7 from Oct. 19 of last year, resulting in Halloween-, Thanksgiving- and Christmas-themed episodes that were shown months after those holidays. Mr. Chase left the series in November, and ratings for the season fell from the year before.

Even so, NBC announced in May that it had renewed “Community” for another 13 episodes. A few weeks later Mr. Harmon told audience members at the recording of his “Harmontown” podcast that he had been asked to return to “Community.” After several more days of teasing fans with the possibility, Mr. Harmon wrote on his Twitter account: “Yes yes yes! I’m back I’m back I’m back.”

Before his reconciliation with “Community” had been confirmed, Mr. Harmon made it known that he was immersing himself in his work. Last weekend he tweeted: “I have a LOT of scripts to read today so you’ll be seeing even more twitter activity than when I’m supposed to be writing them.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/arts/television/dan-harmon-will-return-to-nbcs-community.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Advertising: Banana Republic Reaches Back to the ’60s for That ‘Mad Men’ Look

The Banana Republic unit of Gap Inc., which has teamed up previously with “Mad Men” for marketing promotions, is doing so again this summer with what will be their most extensive joint effort to date. The centerpiece of the new promotion is a collection of men’s and women’s fashions, to be sold in Banana Republic stores and online, based on how the characters on “Mad Men” look.

There will be 65 items in the so-called capsule collection, which are to carry co-branded labels bearing the logos of “Mad Men” and Banana Republic. The merchandise is to be priced the same as similar regular items sold in Banana Republic stores and on bananarepublic.com.

The clothing and accessories like suits, dresses, ties, sweaters, hats, skirts, coats and blouses are influenced by “Mad Men,” which takes place in the 1960s. But they are intended to reflect the sensibilities — and the fit requirements — of contemporary shoppers.

The “Mad Men” collection is to come out in August, when the AMC cable channel was expected to be presenting episodes of the show’s fifth season. (The first four seasons made their debuts from summer 2007 through summer 2010.) However, a dispute between AMC and Matthew Weiner, the creator of the series, has delayed Season 5 until early 2012.

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Executives of Banana Republic and Janie Bryant — the Emmy Award-winning costume designer of “Mad Men,” who is working with them on the merchandise — said they did not believe the absence of the series from TV would damp interest in the collection.

“It’s not that big of a deal,” said Jack Calhoun, president of Banana Republic, because “ ‘Mad Men’ continues to be relevant whether it’s on the air or not.”

Ms. Bryant said she was “getting messages on Facebook and Twitter that say, ‘We’re so excited about Season 5, but we’re watching all the seasons before Season 5 again.’ ”

Until the show returns, “they can get their fix with the clothing,” she added, laughing.

Brooks Brothers has sold a suit inspired by “Mad Men,” which was designed by Ms. Bryant. She collaborated last fall with Nailtini on four nail polishes with “Mad Men” monikers like Bourbon Satin.

Both Bloomingdale’s and Banana Republic have featured “Mad Men” in their store windows. Banana Republic has also offered customers style guides to dressing like “Mad Men” characters, a series of online video clips titled “Mad About Style” and contests to win walk-on parts on the series.

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“Mad Men” mania does not seem to be played out, even after four years, said Tom Julian, a brand consultant and style expert who is the president of the Tom Julian Group.

“At the consumer level, it still has a lot of legs,” Mr. Julian said. “People know what you mean when you say ‘the “Mad Men” look’: a two-button, trim suit, a crisp shirt and a pocket square, the mod look of the ’60s.”

For Banana Republic to use the promotion to persuade “men and women to get dressed up for the fall is very easy to imagine,” he added.

The collection was the brainchild of Ms. Bryant and Simon Kneen, creative director at Banana Republic, who collaborated on the retailer’s previous promotions with the series.

“It wasn’t planned at all,” Mr. Kneen said, but grew from the fact “we got on so well.”

“We’d talk for hours about white shirts,” he added.

Ms. Bryant said she and Mr. Kneen worked on the collection for the last year, adding: “A lot of the pieces I brought to Simon and the design team were pieces from the show, some I designed, some vintage. A dress my grandmother made is an inspiration for a beautiful, beautiful dress.”

Ms. Bryant and Mr. Kneen will return for another round of “Mad About Style” webisodes, which will be on the Banana Republic Facebook page, at facebook.com/bananarepublic, and a section of the AMC Web site, at amctv.com/madmen.

The collection will be promoted in print, outdoor and online advertising; through direct mail; in stores; and through social media. For instance, fans of Banana Republic on Facebook are to get early access to a presale of the collection on Aug. 10, a day before it is scheduled to be available in stores and on the Banana Republic Web site.

There are also plans to repeat the contest to win a walk-on role on “Mad Men,” co-sponsored by Banana Republic and AMC. Information will be provided at madmencastingcall.com.

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In addition to inspiring shoppers and retailers, “Mad Men” is being credited with giving two networks ideas for series for the 2011-12 season that are set in the ’60s. One, “Pan Am,” will be on ABC, and the other, “The Playboy Club,” on NBC.

Would Banana Republic consider offering clothing based on either or both?

Although a ’60s vibe is “in the air,” Mr. Calhoun said, he wondered if those newcomers would be “too much of a clone,” noting that the Playboy Club in New York City figured in the plot of the fourth season of “Mad Men.”

“Another tie-in would have to be a perfect fit,” he added. “ ‘Mad Men’ was a perfect fit.”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=a55863b3310db330eaeea194bea13271