- - Sunday, November 25, 2012

The NBC series “Community” will finish the season without Chevy Chase.

Sony Pictures Television said last week that the actor is leaving the sitcom by mutual agreement with producers.

His immediate departure means he won’t be included in one or two episodes of the show’s 13-episode season, which is still in production.

Mr. Chase had a rocky tenure playing a bored and wealthy man who enrolls in community college. The actor publicly expressed unhappiness at working on a sitcom and feuded last year with the show’s creator and former executive producer, Dan Harmon.

The fourth-season premiere of “Community” is Feb. 7, when it makes a delayed return to the 8 p.m. time slot on Thursdays. The show’s ensemble cast includes Joel McHale and Donald Glover.

Decades-old Apatow script in the works for ‘Simpsons’

Here’s a team-up that could be the comedy world’s answer to “The Avengers.”

A spec script Judd Apatow wrote for “The Simpsons” 22 years ago may finally be making it to air, the writer-director revealed on Conan O’Brien’s “Serious Jibber-Jabber” Web video series.

The script is about Homer being hypnotized into thinking he’s a 10-year-old boy and then becoming best friends with Bart, Mr. Apatow said. Homer eventually goes on the run because he doesn’t want to snap out of it and be forced back into the responsibilities of adulthood.

“I realized that everything I’ve done for my whole career is basically that story,” said Mr. Apatow, whose works from “The 40-Year-Old-Virgin” to “Knocked Up” deal with men struggling to come to terms with adulthood.

Mr. Apatow said after telling the story about his “Simpsons” script publicly for the first time, he got a call from the show’s producers, who said they were going to produce his script next year.

He joked that he would be paid $2,200 and that he’d finally be able to retire.

Mr. Apatow’s “This is 40” hits theaters Dec. 21. “The Simpsons” airs at 8 p.m. Sundays on Fox.

‘Big Bang Theory’s‘ Bialik to divorce husband

Mayim Bialik is splitting from her husband of nine years.

The 36-year-old actress said in a statement posted online Wednesday that she and husband Michael Stone have decided to divorce. The couple has two young sons.

Miss Bialik recently released a book about attachment parenting, but said the philosophy that encourages forming close bonds with children through near-constant physical contact played no role in the couple’s split.

The Emmy-nominated star of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” said “relationships are complicated no matter what style of parenting you choose.”

She said divorce is “terribly sad, painful and incomprehensible” for children and added that the couple’s sons remain their priority.

Miss Bialik first gained fame as the star of the 1990s sitcom “Blossom.” She holds a doctoral degree in neuroscience from UCLA, specializing in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents.

SpongeBob goes 3-D for Christmas special

How does “It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” squeeze even more fun out of our porous little hero and the Bikini Bottom gang? By making the animated characters three-dimensional for their holiday special.

In a tribute to classic fare such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the “SpongeBob SquarePants” crew has been re-imagined as puppets and put through its comedy paces for stop-motion photography.

The storyline as dreamed up by Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob, and his musical collaborator Andy Paley: The denizens of Bikini Bottom are suddenly rude because of exposure to jerktonium, a plot by naughty Plankton to get on Santa’s (voiced by guest star John Goodman) nice list.

“[Plankton] wants to put everyone on their worst behavior when they should be on their best behavior, and zany mayhem ensues,” Mr. Kenny said.

“It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!” will air at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 on Nickelodeon.

The first-time foray into stop-motion is a welcome change for the 13-year-old “SpongeBob,” Mr. Kenny said.

“It’s fun that after all these years we can still do stuff that’s a little different. It’s like reinventing the wheel a little bit — if you can refer to a square character as a wheel,” he added, unable to resist the quip.

The actor said he looks back fondly on childhood memories of “Rudolph” from the Rankin-Bass studio and other stop-action projects.

Asked if young viewers might be fazed by seeing the familiar characters in a new guise, Mr. Kenny mulled the question before rebutting it.

“The characters act the same, the recording process is exactly the same. Our job is exactly the same. There’s still plenty of the animated mayhem and anarchy that happens in the 2-D version of the show,” he said.

Screen Novelties, the Los Angeles studio that produced the Christmas special, made a feast out of the job. In just one of their inventive approaches, filmmakers used fruit-flavored cereal to create a coral reef.

“I came to the studio and they had hundreds of boxes of cereal open and were hot-gluing it together,” Mr. Kenny recalled.

The Patrick Star puppet was covered in woollike material and SpongeBob “wasn’t a sponge, but some kind of weird material they found somewhere,” he said. “They’re like ‘MacGyver,’ always repurposing something.”

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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