Today's NY Times follows up Friday's announcement by ABC that the network was replacing Commander in Chief series creator/showrunner Rod Lurie with omnipresent TV deity Steven Bochco with a report that the move was made because of "production delays":
The show had fallen so far behind on delivering new episodes, the executives said, that ABC feared it might be forced to pre-empt the show or run repeats in the ratings sweep month of November. ABC also did not want to run repeats this month because executives believe they can establish the show with audiences that are not watching postseason baseball on Fox.
ABC announced the switch to Mr. Bochco on Friday, displacing Rod Lurie, the series's creator, just two episodes into the show's run. It is highly unusual for a network to make such a drastic move on a show that is doing well in the ratings. [...]
ABC also said Mr. Lurie would retain his executive producer title on the series. But executives yesterday said that the title would be Mr. Lurie's only continuing association with the show. It will be run entirely by Mr. Bochco, they said, with Mr. Lurie no longer involved at all.
The article has no mention of "creative differences" (hinted at here and in a Variety article on Sunday. The LA Weekly's Nikki Finke also gave this brief item to Drudge late Friday afternoon, citing another non-scheduling reason for the move:
LAWEEKLY entertainment columnist Nikki Finke: ABC/TOUCHTONE's COMMANDER IN CHIEF series creator Rod Lurie replaced as showrunner by Steve Bochco today because of what sources say was Lurie's wanting to show a 'rough sex' scene between the President's daughter and a Secret Service agent in the back of a limo... Developing...
Our operative claims that the disputed scene involves the president's daughter getting "raped," which seems to fit the "rough sex" profile. We imagine that a) ABC wouldn't be too thrilled about a Very Special First Daughter Rape Episode during sweeps, or b) they were hoping to save a campy, lighthearted sex crime plotline for Desperate Housewives.