Community fans, get ready to yell: “Yahoo!”
The cult-favorite comedy has been rescued from cancellation by the online mega-portal and content company. Yahoo Screen has picked up the previously canceled series for 13 episodes from studio Sony Pictures Television. And yes: Creator Dan Harmon is on board. So is the full cast. Executive producers Chris McKenna, Russ Krasnoff and Gary Foster too.
Fans’ six-seasons-and-a-movie movie mantra is now one step closer to becoming a reality. Yahoo grabbed the opportunity to continue the adventures at Greendale Community College after Sony’s talks with streaming service Hulu fell apart last week.
“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!”
Added McHale, who on Friday shot down speculation that he could take of CBS’ Late Late Show: “ ‘The reports of our cancelation 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.”
The deal went nearly down to the wire as the show’s cast contracts expire tonight. Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production at Sony Pictures Television, told EW.com that just because the show is moving online doesn’t mean the production will be scaled back in any way (the episodes typically cost more than $2 million each). “The budget won’t be cut one dollar,” he said. “We didn’t want to be producing the show at any less of the quality or production value that we had been producing. Yahoo came in with finances that were undeniable.”
The show’s length could change, however – but it won’t likely end up shorter. The NBC version often clocked more than the requisite 21 minutes in script form. Though Sony and Yahoo have not yet discussed episode length, “If anything I think we will be longer,” Van Amburg said.
Also, even though the cast won’t be on NBC anymore, their contracts and duties on the show are expected to continue to prevent them from accepting other TV gigs.
“Yahoo is all about connecting the best creators to the audiences who love their work,” noted Kathy Savitt, CMO of Yahoo. “Community has an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base who have fought hard to keep this amazing show alive. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Dan, Joel, and the entire cast, as well as Sony, to deliver a great season 6.”
So as for the rest of #SixSeasonsAndAMovie … Will a movie be do-able after the sixth season airs online? Or what if Yahoo wants more episodes, could a seventh season bust apart the prophecy? “I would have thought that NBC canceling the show would have been the ending,” Van Amburg said. “I’ve learned to take it one step at a time. We’re really excited about this sixth season. Beyond that, we will have to see what reveals itself.”
So get excited. The episodes are expected to debut this fall: