NBC just placed the biggest possible roadblock on the road to six seasons and a movie: The network has cancelled Community after five seasons.
In many ways, the news wasn’t surprising: The ambitious, form-tweaking, meta comedy starring Joel McHale struggled in the ratings this season (and has declined in viewership every year): The 13 episodes averaged just 3.8 million viewers and a 1.6 rating in the key 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. One 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.
- Entertainment Weekly