NBC renews ‘Community’ for season 5

Senior Television Writer
05.10.13 103 Comments

Would you accept five seasons and a movie? NBC has renewed “Community” for another season, against all odds.

Going into this season, “Community” had the following elements stacked against it:

* Creator Dan Harmon was let go by the Sony studio (and most of the show’s top writers followed him out the door), to be replaced by sitcom veterans Moses Port and David Guarascio, who hadn’t worked on the show before.

* NBC scheduled it for Friday nights, in a timeslot that meant certain death.

* NBC executives Bob Greenblatt and Jennifer Salke constantly talked up new sitcoms like “Go On” (which, by the way, was canceled today), “Animal Practice” (canceled long ago) and “The New Normal” (status unknown) as representative of what they wanted NBC’s comedy brand to be: broader and more accessible. Though they didn’t outright say “We want to get out of the business of making shows like ‘Community,'” the implication was pretty clear.

* At the last minute, NBC bailed on the October 19 premiere date, held the show for midseason, then put it back into the timeslot where it had struggled for most of its existence.

But though the numbers were never what would be conventionally called “good” – or even at the level of previous seasons – they were steady enough, and NBC had enough other business with Sony (which had several of its pilots picked up by NBC today, including the James Spader drama “Blacklist”) that a deal was able to be worked out.

It’s not clear how many episodes they’ll get – 16 would bring the show to an even 100, which was the traditional number for syndication – when it will debut, what timeslot (don’t be shocked if it’s sacrificed against “Big Bang Theory” yet again), whether Port and Guarascio will stick around, etc. All we know is that it’s coming back. Based on the comments in my season finale review, some of you will be very excited, and some will be very frustrated by this news.

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