Short answer: Yeah. Maybe.
Spoilers for tonight’s episode
In tonight’s season finale of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, “Dennis’ Double Life,” Dennis (Glenn Howerton) reveals that he has a child with a woman he met in the midwest. The episode entails Dennis trying to scheme his way out of being a Dad, only to discover that the mother is not that bothered by the fact that he doesn’t want to be a father. That unnerves Dennis, who ultimately decides to leave the bar and go be a father, in what is a nod to the Cheers series finale, It’s Always Sunny-style.
I didn’t think much of it when I watched it a few days ago: Howerton is a creator, writer, and producer on the show, in addition to being a star. He’d never leave, right? The show has already been renewed for two more seasons, so that doesn’t make a damn lick of sense.
But then earlier today, I saw that Howerton had signed on to play the lead in an NBC pilot, AP Bio with strong pedigree and a very good shot at being picked up. It comes from producer Seth Meyers (and Lorne Michaels) and former SNL writer Mike O’Brien, who will run the show, and it co-stars Patton Oswalt. How does that not get picked up?
But so what? Kaitlin Olson has a show on Fox, The Mick, and she does double duty on It’s Always Sunny. But this is different, because Howerton is also a writer/producer/actor while Olson only stars on Sunny.
It turns out, however, that the pilot is not even a consideration, according to Howerton. Howerton may or may not be coming back, regardless of the pilot, as he told The Wrap:
“The option to come back is there, is in place,” he said. “It’s very much a creative decision. Without dancing around it too much … anything is possible. It is possible but it’s hard for me to say what seems probable at this point. It’s definitely not a foregone conclusion that I won’t be coming back,” he added.
“I’m not being coy,” Howerton said. “I’m not just trying to spin a mysterious tale here. It will be an artistic decision on behalf of myself, Rob and Charlie as to whether my character comes back, more than a logistical decision.”
“I want to service the show as best I can, and if we decide the best thing for the show is for Dennis to leave, or at least leave for a while for whatever reasons we come up with, then that’s what we’ll do. If we decide it really is best for the show for my character to come back in some capacity then that’s what we’ll do.”
In other words? Howerton might be leaving, but the decision hasn’t been made yet.