Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones Are Leaving Pawnee Forever
Parks and Recreation’s on-again/off-again relationship between Rob Lowe’s Chris Traeger and Rashida Jones’ Ann Perkins will be coming to a head this season: because the two actors will be leaving the beloved NBC comedy. Sources have confirmed Lowe’s and Jones’ departures, which will take place in the show’s 13th episode (likely landing during February sweeps). The season ended with Chris and Ann continuing to try to have a baby together — let’s assume that plot will help usher the two out of Pawnee under happy circumstances. Jones has been on Parks and Rec playing Leslie’s (Amy Poehler) best friend since the show premiered in April 2009. Rob Lowe joined the cast near the end of Season 2 in what was meant to be a guest arc, but turned into a regular role. Both actors will continue to be busy: Jones has a development deal with Warner Bros. Television with her Celeste & Jesse Forever writing partner, Will McCormack; Lowe will play John F. Kennedy in NatGeo’s upcoming Killing Kennedy and will surely pop up on series television again in the future. Representatives of Jones and Lowe did not immediately return emails and calls about the departures. NBC had no comment. The hour-long premiere of Parks and Rec, filmed in London, airs on Sept. 26.
Update: Through the show’s publicist, Parks and Rec’s executive producer Mike Schur sent the following statement: “The news about Rob and Rashida is true — they will be leaving the show after the 13th episode of the upcoming season six. We’ve been working on their storyline (on and off) for four seasons now, and heading into this year, with the two of them contemplating parenthood, it felt like a natural time to move them into the next phase. We absolutely love both Rashida and Rob, and will be sad to see them go. Rashida was one of the very first people we knew we wanted in the cast, and as important as Ann is to Leslie (and vice-versa), she’ll certainly never be far from Pawnee. Rob we initially thought we could only have for six or eight episodes, and we couldn’t be happier that he will have stuck around for 75. They are wonderful, funny, committed actors, they’ve been a huge part of the Parks and Rec family, and we think we have a great Pawnee send-off in the works for them.” – Buzzfeed
Well this sucks. Goodbye Chris Traeger. And goodbye my sweet, beautiful Ann. Parks and Rec certainly thrives due to it’s multi-talented ensemble cast, but it’s still sad to see two great characters (and actors) go. The ageless wonder, Rob Lowe, delighted us for over 3 seasons as Chris Traeger, the fitness obsessed auditor we all grew to love. No comedic character in recent memory was able to change the way a single world was spoken as much as Rob Lowe changed the word “literally”. He was an auditor, a city manager, a boyfriend, and one super positive dude. I sure am glad Chris didn’t die as a baby. Rashida Jones was already one of my favorite TV actresses due to her role as Karen in The Office, but her role as Leslie Knope’s sidekick Ann Perkins solidified her as a bonafide comedy star. When we first met Ann in season 1, she was dating resident slacker Andy Dwyer. Over the next 5 seasons, she struck up many romances, (including an on again, off again romance with Chris) nursed people back to health, and became a Pawnee public official when she was named public relations director for the health department. Fittingly, Ann was trying to get pregnant through vitro fertilization during last season, and who else but her old pal Chris was called upon to be the father. According to executive producer Mike Schur, both Lowe and Jones are expected to leave the show after episode 13 of the new season, where they will receive a “great pawnee sendoff”. Fly away my sweet prince and princess. Fly away and be free.