NBC wound up only needing 16 episodes of “Parks and Recreation” this year, and since 6 of those episodes were produced last spring, only 10 had to be made as part of this production season. Which means “Parks and Rec” co-creator Mike Schur has had a lot of extra time on his hands, and he spent a good chunk of it working on a tie-in project for TV’s best comedy that would only come into existence if NBC renewed it for a fourth season.
Well, the renewal came late last week, and now the project is official: “Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America,” a book “written by” Leslie Knope but really worked on by Schur and many other members of the “Parks and Rec” cast and creative team.
As Schur explained it to me, in the “Time Capsule” episode, we see that Leslie has prepared a book on Pawnee’s history, and this is that book – “but the professsional version. From her POV, with contributions from every character and many minor characters. Got contributions from Fred Armisen (who appeared in season two’s “Sister City”), Ben Schwartz (who plays Jean-Ralphio), (Nick) Offerman, Amy (Poehler), and a bunch of others. Part history, part travel guide, (with) sections on raccoons, Eagleton, Joan Calamezzo, Crazy Ira and the Douche — basically everything that’s ever appeared in the show.”
“Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America” won’t come out until October 4 (by which point season 4 will have hopefully begun), but if there’s one thing this delayed season of “Parks and Rec” has taught us, it’s that things having to do with Pawnee are almost always worth the wait.