While news of NBC's The Good Place ending its run after four seasons was probably not what fans of the critically-acclaimed, award-winning series wanted to hear coming out of Friday night's "For Your Consideration" Emmy event at the Television Academy in North Hollywood. During a panel moderated by Marc Evan Jackson (Shawn), series creator and executive producer Michael Schur as well as cast members Ted Danson, Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and D'Arcy Carden (unfortunately, future season 4 director Kristen Bell wasn't able to make it) covered a number of issues about about the series past, present, and future.
So for some clues on what The Good Place fans can expect from the the final seasons – as well as a deep-dive into topics like the casting of Donkey Doug, how Danson deals with being so universally loved, and Harper's experience going shirtless – sit back and treat yourself to a forking shirtballs of panel highlights:
Here's a look at what Schur had to say about the show's departure, as well as how the decision to end the series came about:
"After 'The Good Place' was picked up for season two, the writing staff and I began to map out, as best we could, the trajectory of the show. Given the ideas we wanted to explore, and the pace at which we wanted to present those ideas, I began to feel like four seasons – just over 50 episodes – was the right lifespan. At times over the past few years we've been tempted to go beyond four seasons, but mostly because making this show is a rare, creatively fulfilling joy, and at the end of the day, we don't want to tread water just because the water is so warm and pleasant. As such, the upcoming fourth season will be our last.
"I will be forever grateful to NBC and Universal TV for letting us make 'The Good Place,' and for letting us end it on our own schedule. I will also be forever grateful to the creative team, both on-screen and off, for their hard work and dedication to a very weird idea. We ask the question very frequently, on this show, what do we owe to each other? The answer, for me, is: I owe all of you a whole lot.
We look forward to a great final season airing this fall."
For the 2018-19 season, The Good Place averaged a 1.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 4.6 million viewers overall in "Live+7" Nielsens, and more than doubled to a 3.3 rating in 18-49 after 35 days of linear and projected non-linear viewership. Since its launch in 2016, the series has won the AFI Award for Program of the Year, TCA Award for Program of the Year, a Humanitas Award and a Peabody Award. In addition, the series has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Writers Guild Award, Producers Guild Award and Critics' Choice Award.
From creator Michael Schur ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Parks and Recreation" and "Master of None") comes a unique comedy about what makes a good person. The show follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, "House of Lies," "Veronica Mars"), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place (which is definitely where she belongs). While hiding in plain sight from Good Place Architect Michael (Ted Danson – "Cheers," "CSI" – in an Emmy Award-nominated performance), she's determined to shed her old way of living and earn her spot.
The first two seasons featured surprise after surprise and twist after twist, including a world-upending season one finale that threw everything up in the air. At the end of season two, Michael appeared in front of the Judge (Maya Rudolph, also Emmy nominated) to argue that the humans may have been judged unfairly, and deserve a second chance. With a snap of her fingers, the Judge sent the humans back to Earth, in a new timeline where they never died.
Also seeking redemption, along with Eleanor, are Senegalese philosopher Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper, "Paterson"), who is tortured by decision-making; elegant Pakistani-British socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil, "Playing It Straight") and dance-obsessed Floridian Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto, "The Romeo Section"). Michael is aided by Janet (D'Arcy Carden, "Broad City"), a human-esque repository for all of the knowledge in the universe.
Along with executive producing, Schur also serves as writer and showrunner. David Miner (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 30 Rock), Morgan Sackett (Parks and Recreation, Veep) and Drew Goddard (The Martian) also executive produce. Universal Television, Fremulon, and 3 Arts Entertainment produce.