NBC just placed the biggest possible roadblock on the road to six seasons and a movie: The network has canceled Community after five seasons.
In many ways, the news wasn’t surprising. The ambitious, form-tweaking, meta-comedy starring Joel McHale has long struggled in the ratings, and the 13-episode fifth season averaged 3.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic, including DVR playback.
Still, fans had been holding out hope, as the critically admired cult comedy has been rejuvenated creatively by the return of creator Dan Harmon in season 5 (while absorbing the exit of one of its original cast members, Donald Glover, early in the season). And although the threat of cancellation loomed in previous seasons, the show had always managed to squeak out a renewal right before NBC presented its fall schedule at the advertiser upfronts. A final batch of episodes would have been a big one for Community’s hyper-dedicated fans and cast, who have been pushing for the series to fulfill its destiny once uttered by Abed (Danny Pudi) and reach the milestone of six seasons and a movie. (Community also has fallen shy of another benchmark: 100 episodes, having aired 97 to date.)
There is, of course, the significant possibility that Community isn’t dead altogether. Sony Pictures TV, which produces Community, will now try to find another home for it on cable or a streaming service. The show has already been sold in syndication to Comedy Central, while Hulu owns the digital rights.
In regards to the NBC news, McHale just tweeted: “#darkesttimeline,” while Harmon’s first tweet on the matter is: “Twitter isn’t big enough to hold my condolences and more importantly my gratitude to the best fans, cast and crew in TV history. Excelsior.” Feel free to place your condolences and/or rally cries below.
Meanwhile, NBC has renewed freshman comedy About a Boy and canceled another one, Growing Up Fisher.