The drama surrounding NBC sitcom Community never seems to end. A year ago the series was put on “hiatus,” and rumors swirled that it would be canceled. It wasn’t. In fact, it got renewed—but only for 13 episodes, rather than the full 22. And then the show’s wildly inventive creator, Dan Harmon, was fired. And finally the show was moved to Friday.
Or was it? The latest news is that the show will not return Oct. 19, as originally planned. Its season premiere is still planned for… some time, but when is not clear. For now, the show will stay in NBC’s “back pocket,” as the network explained in a statement. NBC, as you may have heard, has not exactly been a ratings king the last few years—but things have actually been looking up so far this fall. Even the shows that feel like knockoffs of Community are doing better than Community used to do. And, oddly, that, too, is bad news for Community. At least for now.
“Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks,” the network’s statement read, “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.” Once “we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks,” it continues, “we will announce new season premieres of Whitney and Community.”
(Note: No one here at Slate is particularly worried about the future of Whitney. But if you enjoy communing with the “angry ghost” of the traditional sitcom, you, too, will have to wait to get your fix.)
Meanwhile, some previously held interviews with Community’s new showrunners, David Guarascio and Moses Port, are being published, somewhat awkwardly, this morning. So fans of the show have those to pore over, at least, for hints and signs of encouragement or despair. Guarascio told the New York Times that when he and Port “started to pitch our stories” for the show, network executives said maybe “could it be more like this instead of that”? So he and Port had “to dig in a little bit and say, look, we didn’t come on to make that into this… We did have to draw a couple lines in the sand.”