With Community’s “hiatus” from screens in the States becoming ever more drawn-out and dramatic, fans were beginning to suspect the show might be doomed to premature cancellation, as had been widely rumored. This afternoon, however, a tweet from Yvette Nicole Brown—who plays Shirley on the show—quashed those fears, confirming that Community will return to NBC on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m.
Costar Alison Brie added, “It’s true! Community is officially (for now) coming back Thurs, February 7th at 8pm!”
Of course, we’ve seen such announcements fail to come to fruition before. The show’s fourth season has been plagued by false starts and scheduling drama—even just today. Citytv, a Canadian station, reported that it would premiere the fourth season of Community on Nov. 9, a date that, even before the latest news, seemed likely to precede the U.S. television premiere. This afternoon, Nov. 9 became Jan. 11. Then the site announced that “no start date has been set yet.”
Of course, January is still earlier than Februrary. Is Canada going to get the NBC show before its native country? That would seem like a mistake on NBC’s part: As Splitsider noted, an early foreign premiere would encourage increased pirating in America—and “the show’s audience is a bunch of technology-crazy youngsters who torrent it in large numbers to begin with.” In a follow-up post, Splitsider wondered if perhaps the apparently mistaken Canadian announcement forced NBC to reveal its own plans.
Which seems possible—there’s been no subsequent word on when the show will arrive in Canada. But the U.S. plan may itself have been in the works for a while: By waiting until February, NBC can slot Community into the spot currently occupied by 30 Rock, which is finishing a seven-season run. While the Tina Fey series has also been plagued by mediocre ratings, NBC is likely hoping that fans of that show who haven’t been watching Community will give the latter sitcom a try, if only to fill the void.
If you are such a viewer yourself, now may be a good time to start catching up on what you’ve missed.