'Parks and Recreation' exec producer addresses departures of Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones

Parks-and-Rec-Rob-Lowe-Rashida-Jones.jpg

Image Credit: Byron Cohen/NBC

After the TCA session for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox’s new comedy starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher, co-creator/executive producer Michael Schur addressed the hot topic from that other show he co-created and executive produces, Parks and Recreation: The departures of Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones after the 13th episode of this season. He elaborated on his statement from yesterday, explaining how the decision came about and how it will impact the show:

On whether new cast members will be added to replace Chris Traeger (Lowe) and Ann Perkins (Jones)

“We have no plans to do that. We have a bunch of guest stars in the first episodes. The decision wasn’t like, ‘We’re swapping out those two characters for two other characters at all.’ It was just sort of a natural thing of we’re trying to have a baby, and we felt like we should do that this year, and they’ve been going in that direction.”

On the plan to have the pair depart halfway through the season
“At the end of last year, we had a big ‘What’s the future?’ looking forward [conversation]. And the first thing we talked about was Ann and Chris and… now that they’re on this train, where she’s decided that she wants to have a baby and that he should be a father, then we kind of want them to have a baby and that will be the plan. And once they were together to have a baby, the more we talked abut it, the more it felt like, ‘Maybe this is the way that they get moved off into the next phase of their lives on the show. We talked about different scenarios, like we could do it at the end of the year, we could do it in the middle of the year. And for whatever reason it just seemed like the natural thing to do.”

“There’s another part of this equation, which is that Rashida has a producing gig at Warner Brothers…. She’s really focusing on writing more which as a writer I fully support. So when I talked to her about what we had planned for her and for Rob, she was totally on board. The real headline is that everyone is happy. There’s no controversy here…. This is nothing but happy. No one screamed and yelled and stormed off and said ‘I quit’, nor did we say, ‘You’re fired.'”

On whether this move was suggested by the actors or the producers
“We had the idea to creatively sort of move in that direction, and it totally dovetailed in line with what the two actors envisioned for themselves and their careers. And so it’s a big, happy mutual hug-fest celebration.” ( Schur also noted that the decision was not driven by any need to cut costs, beyond the normal dollar-saving pressure: “It wasn’t like, ‘Uh-oh we’ve got to hack away at our cast.'”)

On the story line for their departures
“It’s a murder-suicide.” Yes, he was just joking. Here’s the real scoop: “The decision that they make that will see them transition off the show is made very early, so it’s a long fun kind of celebratory send-off. And it happens in the first episode after the premiere — the seeds start being planted. So it’s going to be a long crescendo and Leslie (Amy Poehler) will go through a series of complicated highs and lows about what’s happening. For obvious reasons, it’s the main arc that plays out in the first half of the year…. They’re moving into a new phase of their lives and they have a lot of things to consider and they’re going to consider them, and then make a decision that leads to their [exit].”

On Lowe’s Parks journey
“When Rob signed onto the show, we thought it was for eight episodes. He was leaving Brothers and Sisters and he was available. We had that weird thing where Amy was pregnant so we needed to shoot the first six episodes of season 3 right after shooting season 2, and he was available and we were like, ‘Look, he’s probably going to do a pilot, but let’s grab him for this little weird slice of time that he’s available and we did. And then he had such a good time and we had such a good time with him that we rewrote season 3 to let him stick around, and he will have been here for 75 episodes — it’s eight times longer than we thought we were going to keep him.”

On how Leslie will cope with losing her best friend, Ann
“She’s been handed a lot of challenges before in her life and she’s always come through the other side. That’s not the only challenge she’ll be facing this year. We like to encourage change in our show, people getting married, having kids, and moving on. Every time we make those decision to make those big moves, things are interesting and fun for the creative team.”

On whether there is a chance that Chris and Ann could return in a special episode down the road
“Absolutely.”

Advertisement

Latest Videos in TV

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP