Parks and Recreation - Ann Perkins and Chris Traeger

This is literally the worst news we’ve heard about Parks & Recreation in quite some time. Rashida Jones and Rob Lowe, who play “beautiful, naive, sophisticated newborn baby” Ann Perkins and “finely tuned microchip” Chris Traeger, respectively, are set to leave the NBC comedy during its upcoming sixth season. Hit the jump to find out when they’ll make their last appearances.

Buzzfeed broke the terrible news. Both actors are slated to leave after the thirteenth episode of the upcoming season, which will likely fall during February sweeps.

Showrunner Mike Schur followed shortly afterward with a statement confirming the casting changes.

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.

Jones has been a regular on the show since the first episode, playing Pawnee nurse and Leslie’s BFF Ann. Lowe joined late in the second season with Adam Scott, playing Indiana state auditor Chris. Initially set for an eight-episode guest arc, he was bumped up to series regular status in Season 3.

Those who follow the show know that Ann and Chris have spent the latter half of Season 5 rekindling their romance while considering parenthood, so perhaps we’ll get to see the pair ride off into the sunset together with a brand-new baby in Season 6. Though even if that happens, we’d expect a few wrenches thrown in their path along the way.

Sad as it is to see them go, neither Jones nor Lowe should have any trouble moving on. Jones and her writing partner inked a two-year development deal with Warner Bros. TV earlier this year, and she has a role in the upcoming big-screen comedy Cuban Fury. Lowe is currently shooting the Nat Geo movie Killing Kennedy, in which he plays JFK. Also, he’s Rob Lowe and has been acting steadily for longer than I’ve been alive, so I’m sure he’ll figure it out.

The new season of Parks & Recreation premieres September 26.

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