Is NBC Dismantling Its Comedy Lineup?

Slate's Culture Blog
May 10 2012 6:02 PM

NBC to End 30 Rock—and Other Acclaimed Sitcoms?

30Rock
30 Rock has been renewed for an abbreviated final season.

Publicity image © NBC 2012.

After a flurry of rumors that exploded this afternoon on Twitter, the end of at least one NBC sitcom has been confirmed: The New York Times’ Dave Itzkoff reports that NBC has renewed 30 Rock for a final abbreviated season of 13 episodes. Most seasons of 30 Rock have contained around 22 episodes.

Earlier this week, the New York Daily News cited “multiple reports” that Community and Parks and Recreation would also be given final, abbreviated seasons. However, as of this writing NBC has not confirmed reports about either of those sitcoms. Each of the two acclaimed series has gained a strong cult following and several Emmy nominations—including a nomination for best comedy series last year for Parks and Recreation—but both have garnered relatively low ratings for the major network, which has been struggling. When the cancellation of Community was rumored back in November, Bill Wyman wrote in Brow Beat about NBC’s predicament:

NBC once ruled Thursday night, and now has a phalanx of critically respected but ratings-challenged redheaded stepchildren. Community is arguably a good as any of these (no small claim in a lineup that includes 30 Rock, The Office, and Parks and Recreation), but it has often been at the bottom of the network’s ratings barrel.
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Another challenge for these shows is bringing back their cast. Community star Chevy Chase has reportedly feuded with creator Dan Harmon, complaining that it’s a “fucking mediocre sitcom” and just “ain’t funny.” Last month, Alec Baldwin was rumored to be leaving 30 Rock, though he later clarified that he would stay on if the show was renewed for a final seventh season.

UPDATE, May 11, 2012:  Community has also been renewed for 13 episodes, according to Variety. There was no indication that this will be Community's final season.

UPDATE, May 11, 2012:  Deadline is reporting that Parks and Recreation has also been renewed for a fourth season.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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