The Weekend Rant: ‘Parks and Recreation’ and the John Belushi biopic

In the latest installment of The Weekend Rant, Daniel Fienberg talks about the “Parks and Recreation’s” faux hiatus, while Drew McWeeny addresses the miscalculations of the impending John Belushi biopic. What’s been on your mind in the world of pop culture? Let us know in the comments section. 

Media-driven “Parks and Recreation” panic

There are plenty of reasons to worry about the future of “Parks and Recreation” based on the beloved comedy’s perilously low ratings, but this week the online media forced fans into a deeper panic for absolutely no reason. In a spring scheduling announcement two Fridays ago, NBC clearly noted that “Parks and Recreation” would only air two more times this year, that it would be replaced by a series of hour-long specials (since NBC didn’t have another comedy to pair it with) and then it would return in January paired with “Community.” Clean and easy. However, several sites were too excited to report about the “Community” premiere date and other scheduling tidbits and then decided to run panicked stories about a “hiatus” — perhaps an apt bit of terminology, but only based on semantics — on Monday, based on the exact same info they’d already reported on Friday. Those hiatus stories, which drew freaked out fright traffic on some excellent and reputable sites, led to even more embarrassingly reported stories on sites nobody had ever heard of suggesting that NBC had tried to hide this news and that “Parks” had no return date. The bottom line is this — With “Welcome to the Family” dead, NBC had three choices: Either run “Parks” in double-blocks (freaking people out with talk of a “burn-off” and leaving NBC with limited inventory for later), pairing new episodes of “Parks” with repeats of some sort and risking dismal ratings and weakening the 9 p.m. hour as well or running various specials in that hour hoping for better ratings and protecting the 9 p.m. shows. NBC took two of those options and they’ll do double-episodes on November 14 and 21 and specials on the other nights. And this was all announced VERY up-front. As Adam Scott pointed out on Twitter, “Parks” aired nine episodes pre-January last year and it will air nine pre-January this year. It’s scheduled to return on January 9. You can be concerned about the long-term future for “Parks and Rec” all you want to, but nothing you may have read this week represented anything new or more damning than what you knew before.
-Daniel Fienberg
Is the new John Belushi biopic a good idea?

-Drew McWeeny