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."