Thousands of dedicated fans (humans) will not be happy to hear that, despite its official scheduling announcement in June and a trailer released in August hyping its fourth season, NBC has decided cult favorite Community will not return to the network on Oct. 19. The critically-acclaimed but mainstream-shunned series, in addition to the more traditional multi-camera Whitney were unceremoniously pushed from last season’s Thursday night slots (Community at 8 pm and Whitney at 9:30 pm ET) and set to air Friday at 8:30 pm and 8 pm ET, respectively, this Fall.
NBC has not given a reason for its decision or any indication when the shows will return– or even if they will return. However, Vulture cites insiders, who say the reason is simply that the marketing budget isn’t there to properly push the shows. “The Peacock has been so busy hyping its other new shows (including successes such as Revolution and Go On), it hasn’t had time to pump the Friday comedies,” Josef Adalian writes. “Debuting the shows on the night now would basically be giving up on them completely.”
Whatever the reason is, the show’s creator and ousted executive producer Dan Harmon has got to be just a little pleased that he’s avoiding this mess. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it now: Sony Television Pictures, who owns the show, needs to strike a deal with Netflix a la Arrested Development so that the show can thrive without the limitations and guidelines set forth by a television network. The future for Community and Whitney doesn’t look good, friends.
UPDATE: 9:47 pm ET
NBC just released this statement:
Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks – including winning the first week of the season in A18-49 – we’ve decided to continue to concentrate our promotional strength on our new NBC shows that are scheduled Monday through Wednesday and have therefore decided to hold Community and Whitney from their previously announced premieres of October 19th,” the network said. “Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week — plus we will have both comedies in our back pocket if we need to make any schedule changes on those nights. When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of Whitney and Community.
I’m sure the cast of Community and Whitney are pleased to know they’re in NBC’s “back pocket.”