Please note that comments made at the Television Critics Association press tour are not binding contracts. They in no way replace legally notarized deals signed between studios and networks and whatnot.
However, it’s hard not to feel good about the fate of “Parks and Recreation” after Sunday (January 19) morning’s TCA press tour panel with NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt and NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.
I was live-blogging the panel, which normally precludes my asking questions, due to all of the typing and whatnot. However, we were late in the panel and nobody had asked about either the failure of “The Michael J. Fox Show” or future hopes for “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” which have, once again, been doing well, relative entirely to their Thursday companions.
Regarding the struggles of “Michael J. Fox,” which did a woeful 0.6 rating among adults 18-49 last Thursday, Greenblatt sounded regretful.
“We’re obviously not happy about a .6 for any show, especially for Michael J. Fox. We like that show. We like Sean Hayes’ show a lot. Creatively, we think those are good shows,” he insisted.
And regarding “Community” and “Parks and Recreation”?
“I think both of those shows are, you know, are strong possibilities for returning,” Greenblatt said.
He continued by saying that the network is “bullish” about the fate of both shows.
Now, if you’ve been following along with #TCA14 tweeting and live-blogging, you know that “bullish” has been January’s Word of the Tour. FOX’s Kevin Reilly said he was “bullish” about “The Mindy Project.” FX’s John Solberg couldn’t be more “bullish” about their comedy and drama slate. The CW’s Mark Pedowitz was “bullish” on “Reign” and also on the hopes for the “Arrow” spinoff “The Flash.”
At this point, the word had lost all meaning and so I pushed to get clarification regarding what “bullish” actually means. After a circle of joking and kidding and hedging, Greenblatt said he was going out on a limb and said, “‘Parks and Rec’ is going to have a seventh season.” Salke moved quickly to say that this definitive statement about “Parks and Rec” shouldn’t mean anything about “Community.”
So there you go. Again: This is not an official renewal. Nothing is likely to be official possibly before May. But it’s a fairly declarative statement, without much suggestion of ambiguity, the sort of thing that we actually don’t get very often at press tour, especially on perennial bubble shows.
After the panel, I went to the stage to ask Salke if actual negotiations or conversations about a renewal had taken place before Greenblatt made his not-really-exactly-an-announcement.
“No. We’ve had some conversations with them about the show creatively and we’ve indicated to them that they should feel pretty good, so I think you kinda broke the news here,” she told me.
So there you go! NBC executives say “Parks and Recreation” will be back for a seventh season. That’s not the same thing as actively renewing the show for a seventh season. But it’s on-the-record!
And now I can head off to Sundance.