*Damon Wayans Jr. is leaving the series that he left before.
A year and a half after his big return to “New Girl,” The Hollywood Reporter confirms the actor has opted not to come back for its expected fifth season. He is instead choosing to field other pilot offers for the upcoming TV season.
Wayans Jr. rejoined “New Girl” in a recurring status in 2013 before becoming a regular soon after. He originally starred in the pilot, but obligations to surprise renewal “Happy Endings” kept him from continuing with the show. “Happy Endings’” ultimate cancelation freed up the actor for a return.
“We love Damon and are so lucky to have had him return for the past season-and-a-half,” said exec producer and creator Liz Meriwether. “We are working on crafting an exit for him that will leave the door open for many more returns, especially since ‘Coach’ is our resolution to the upcoming ‘Who’s Jess’ Baby Daddy?’ storyline.” (Meriwether is joking about star Zooey Deschanel’s real-life pregnancy, though it will not be written into the series.)
Wayans Jr. is currently getting offers for pilots, according to THR. And, should he book anything, it won’t keep him from finishing “New Girl’s” current season. He’s set to stay on through the finale.
“I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to come back to ‘New Girl’ in season three to reprise the role of ‘Coach,'” the actor said. “Working with this incredibly talented and funny cast and crew has been one of the best experiences of my career.”
“New Girl” has yet to get the official greenlight for a fifth season, but it’s fate at the network is hardly in doubt. Fox chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, who also run “New Girl” studio 20th Century Fox TV, have already gone on record in their desire to keep the network’s No. 2 live action comedy on the air.