‘The Neighborhood’ showrunner exits series after race-related complaints

'I am not the right person to continue to tell these stories.'

The creator behind the hit CBS comedy series The Neighborhood has stepped down after complaints about his handling of race-related issues. 

Jim Reynolds exited the show after three seasons following critical feedback about his leadership style from two Black writers who recently left the series, TheWrap reports. His departure comes after the writers’ concerns prompted CBS Studios to opt for a transition in leadership. 

“At this moment, in light of everything going on in the world, I had concluded that I am not the right person to continue to tell these stories,” Reynolds said in a statement. 

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According to the report, his full statement reads: “I am very proud of ‘The Neighborhood’ and have given everything of myself over the last three years to make this the best show possible. I am so happy that the show has found such an enthusiastic audience and that it will live on. At this moment, in light of everything going on in the world, I had concluded that I am not the right person to continue to tell these stories. I am excited to see the show thrive and wish everyone involved the very best.”

Summer 2018 TCA Press Tour - Day 12
Executive Producer Jim Reynolds, (L) and executive producer/actor Cedric the Entertainer (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Reynolds’ TV credits include serving as co-executive producer and writer on CBS comedies 9JKL and The Big Bang Theory. The Neighborhood is reportedly loosely based on his own life experiences. The show centers on “the friendliest guy in the Midwest” who “moves his family to a neighborhood in Los Angeles where not everyone looks like him or appreciates his extreme neighborliness,” according to the CBS logline.

Max Greenfield stars as the quirky next-door neighbor to comedian Cedric the Entertainer. The duo co-star alongside Sheaun McKinney, Marcel Spears, Beth Behrs and Tichina Arnold.

Cedrick revealed in a 2019 interview with The Undefeated that he initially turned down the role of Calvin Butler because he wasn’t feeling’ Reynolds’ script. 

“I was in a development deal with CBS. They had The Neighborhood script with Jim [Reynolds]. When I read it, I had a lot of reservations,” Ced said. “Jim was writing a story loosely based off his life experiences. And of course, he totally had the black people wrong. (Laughs) I was like, ‘Nah, bruh. We don’t feel that way.’ I stepped away from the project.”

He decided to come back to the project after meeting with Reynolds and they had an honest conversation about the development of the series.

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“I finally got the chance to meet Jim, and we talked. He earnestly wanted The Neighborhood to be right,” he told The Undefeated. “He was like, ‘I just really was kind of speaking from my point of view. And I thought what I was saying was the right thing.’ From there we had robust dialogue, and then we started to develop the show together. That’s how I became the executive producer on The Neighborhood.”

The Neighborhood is the first CBS sitcom headlined by a mostly Black cast since 2000’s Cosby starring Bill Cosby. Cedrick said he used this to negotiate his deal with the network. 

“I was like, ‘Look, y’all haven’t had any black people on here since the second Cosby show.’ (Laughs) I have to mention Jermaine Fowler, the kid who was on the show Superior Donuts … he was one of the lone black actors on CBS. The Neighborhood is me with a black wife, black kids … a heavily African American-related show. I knew our series was something out of CBS’s wheelhouse. The joke was: How do we even get my audience to look at CBS?”

New episodes of The Neighborhood air Mondays at 8/7c on CBS.

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