NBC has no real comedy brand at the moment. The network’s Thursday sitcom bloc imploded, and the Tuesday comedies are being kept alive entirely by the grace of “The Voice” lead-in. A couple of weeks ago, the network decided to sell off mid-season comedy “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” to Netflix because they anticipated a drama-heavy spring lineup – also known as “we don’t know how to make comedies work right now.”
There is still the matter of “Parks and Recreation,” the last show standing (at NBC, at least; “Community” moved to Yahoo) from the previous NBC comedy brand, which consisted of low-rated but critically-adored boutique comedies. NBC’s been trying to get away from that brand from the moment Robert Greenblatt took over the network, and while nothing he and his team have tried in this area has worked, they’ve now announced plans to schedule the final season of “Parks” in a manner that will end that era of NBC comedy as quickly as possible.
The seventh and final “Parks” season will debut on Tuesday, January 13 at 8 p.m., and will air back-to-back episodes each Tuesday through the rest of January and most of February, before the one-hour series finale airs on Tuesday, February 24 after “The Voice.”
Scheduling the final season this way helps NBC fill the gap between “Voice” seasons, and it also acknowledges that there’s nothing else on the schedule that’s especially compatible as a lead-in or lead-out. (“Marry Me” is the only thing even vaguely in the ballpark.) “Parks” represents NBC’s comedy past, not its future; it’s too low-rated to provide a boost to a new sitcom, and not something the network would bother wasting scheduling resources on (save for that post-“Voice” finale). If “Parks” were a bit younger, I could picture the network trying to exploit Chris Pratt’s newfound movie stardom to see if the show could somehow find a new audience, but it’s much too late for that now.
What does everybody else think? You excited that you’ll get so much of “Parks” early in the new year? Disappointed the final season will be over so quickly? Or do you just want as much of Leslie, Ben, April, Andy and Ron Effing Swanson as you still can, regardless of when and where?