‘Community’ renewed by Yahoo for sixth season; movie to follow?

Holy cow, boys and girls: “Community” has been renewed, after all. The dream of six seasons and a movie is still alive – thanks to Yahoo, of all places, which closed a deal for an additional season of the cult NBC comedy.

The deal closed on the last day it realistically could, since the actors would all be released from their contracts at midnight tonight. The new season, comprised of 13 episodes, will debut this fall. Creator Dan Harmon and producer Chris McKenna, who returned to the show for season 5 after a year away, will stick around. The regular cast from the end of last season – Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong and Jim Rash – will all return. Donald Glover left midway through last season, and Jonathan Banks (who was a guest star for most of season 5) will be otherwise occupied with AMC’s “Better Call Saul.”

“I am very pleased that ‘Community’ will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in a statement. “I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, ‘Big Bang Theory.’ Look out, ‘Bang Bus!”

McHale added, “The reports of our cancellation have been greatly exaggerated.” —Mark Twain (The other version of this quote has been wrong for years). # SixSeasonsAndaMovie is real. Thank you Sony. Thank you Yahoo. Thank you Dan Harmon. And thank you to the greatest f%$#ing fans in the history of the human race. It”s the internet. We can swear now.”

When NBC declined to order one last season just to fulfill their end of the “six seasons and a movie” meme (seized on by fans after a joke in season 2’s fake clip show episode), the options for the show’s survival were limited. Because of exclusive rerun deals with Hulu and Comedy Central (neither of whom could close a deal with Sony), Netflix and other cable channels weren’t interested.

Back in the spring, though, Yahoo announced plans to create several of its own TV-style comedy series, which makes the prospect of even having this one season’s worth of episodes appealing. “Community,” you may have noticed, is enormously popular online, and bringing its fans to Yahoo to watch the remaining episodes would be an enormous head start on generating an awareness for their other original content.

And with the sixth season part happening, let me remind you of Harmon’s comments to me earlier in the spring about the movie part:

“I mean, if they do a sixth season, I have to participate. And having done that, if the movie has to be made out of clay and duct tape in my basement, then that”s how the movie will be made, because there has to be closure. The title of the book about the show is not ‘”Community,” An Interesting Journey into a Show No One Ever Watched.’ The title of the book is obviously going to be, ‘Six Seasons and a Movie.’ So it”s already over. Sometimes our hands are just tied up in fate.”

In the show’s history full of improbable events, I would say that Harmon getting re-hired to run season 5 is still the most improbable, but being brought back from the dead by Yahoo is way up there. It’s not the first cult show to be saved from cancellation, nor even the first to be saved by a streaming video service (see the Netflix season of “Arrested Development”), but in this case it involves a service that wasn’t even on anyone’s radar – and now will be, thanks to this deal.

What does everybody else think? Are you excited the show’s going to continue, even online? Or had you made your peace with the NBC cancellation?