After being fabled in urban lore for years, the Season of the Showrunner Switcheroo has finally come to be. Ever since the network upfronts announced which series would be returning for the upcoming television season, the public has heard news of several shows dropping their existing showrunners and bringing in new ones. The latest in the trend is Last Man Standing, the Tim Allen sitcom that just concluded its first season on ABC. EW reports that original showrunner Kevin Abbott is leaving his post to take the lead on the new ABC program Malibu Country, starring Reba McEntire. Tim Doyle (who has served as EP on The Big Bang Theory and Rules of Engagement) will be assuming control of Last Man Standing.
The news might have been more jarring if the world wasn't quickly becoming desensitized to the idea of showrunner swapping. Recently, the HBO hit True Blood (which aired its Season 5 premiere on Sunday) announced that creator and showrunner Alan Ball would be stepping down, and the series executive producer Mark Hudis would be taking charge for the developing sixth season. You can read more about this here.
The Showtime dramedy Nurse Jackie nabbed former Dexter writer/showrunner Clyde Phillips to lead. Former series heads Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem dropped out of production in light of Nurse Jackie's relocation to New York. You can read more about this here.
Prior to this, it was announced that Cougar Town, which is moving from ABC to TBS, would be giving creative control to Ric Swartzlander. Original showrunners/creators Bill Lawrence and Kevin Biegel will remain attached as executive producers — they and the cast have expressed a positive attitude about the change-up. You can read more about this here.
Back in March, Paul Lieberstein, The Office's showrunner and onscreen sad sack (better known as Toby Flenderson), announced that he would be giving up his top dog position in order to head The Office's developing Dwight Schrute-centric spinoff, The Farm. No word yet on who will take Lieberstein's spot as showrunner. You can read more about this here.
The freshman comedy Whitney didn't quite earn its keep during its first year on NBC, but the network is bent on finding the magic it believes to be inherent in its star's television presence. Whitney has hired Friends vet Wil Calhoun to take over; previous showrunner Betsy Thomas will remain EP status. You can read more about this here.
But the greatest deal of outrage has come in response to the replacement of Dan Harmon as showrunner on his cult phenomenon, NBC's Community. Harmon was removed by the network from his position and granted an executive producer credit; outside writers David Guarascio and Moses Port were brought on to head the series. You can read more about this here, but try not to get too depressed.
[Image Credit: ABC]
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After thirteen years of an electrifying Stabler/Benson dynamic, Law & Order: SVU is entering its new season with a completely different formula. Now that Christopher Meloni has left the show, Mariska Hargitay will be breaking in a new partner in the form of Danny Pino. Pino will play Detective Nick Amaro, a newcomer to Special Victims Unit with whom veteran Olivia Benson (Hargitay) clashes...although this antagonism is likely rooted in her grief over the loss of her longtime partner and friend, Elliot Stabler (Meloni). Also new to the series is Kelli Giddish, portraying new-to-the-force cop Amanda Rollins. Returning to the cast will be Assistant District Attorney characters Alexandra Cabot (Stephanie March) and Casey Novak (Diane Neal), to finally settle the score on the age-old fan argument of who is the better ADA. Go Team Cabot.
This featurette highlights the cast's thoughts on the upcoming season and their respective characters. In addition to the above actors, cast members Ice T, and (briefly) Richard Belzer share their feelings about Season 13 and its new additions.
Attorneys representing Blade star Wesley Snipes are attempting to move the actor's upcoming tax evasion trial from a Florida court because they fear their client will be judged on his skin color.
In a motion filed in District Court, Snipes' lawyer argued that the U.S. Attorney's Office willfully selected the Ocala courthouse in Marion County because it's one of the "most racially discriminatory venues available."
Lawyer Robert Bernhoft claims the court was picked because the locally selected jury is likely to be made up of "an all-white Southern jury," adding the area is a "hotbed of (Ku Klux) Klan activity."
The attorney asks for the charges against Snipes to be dismissed, or the trial moved to New York.
Snipes was served with federal indictment charges for fraudulently claiming tax refunds totaling almost $12 million in 2006.
The actor, 45, was also charged with failure to file tax returns for the five years following 1999.
His trial is scheduled to begin in January.
Chief Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway has dismissed the racism claims, stating, "That's perhaps the most outrageous claim I've ever heard made in open court."
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