Talk about an eleventh-hour rescue: there may be “six seasons and a movie” after all.
NBC canceled the cult comedy Community in May, disappointing many of its fans, who assumed that since the show had received an unlikely fifth season, a sixth was pretty much a foregone conclusion. But it wasn’t to be so.
Then rumors surfaced that Sony Pictures Television, the show’s producer, was in talks with other TV outlets, including cable channels and streaming services, to find a new home for Community. For a moment it looked like Hulu was going to be the show’s savior, but those negotiations fell through. June 30th was the deadline for the show’s actors to be signed to new contracts, so it seems likely that work on the deal was ongoing until fairly close to that deadline.
In addition to all the primary cast members (Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Alison Brie, Jim Rash, and Ken Jeong), show creator Dan Harmon will also return as showrunner. Season six will consist of 13 episodes, which Yahoo hopes to begin streaming some time in the fall. Unlike original shows on Netflix, episodes will probably be released on a weekly schedule.
So what does Yahoo get out of this deal? The company has made it clear that it wants to get into producing original content, and acquiring a show with a built-in fan base, even one considered negligible by network standards, is an efficient way to jump-start that original-content initiative. Any Yahoo users who happen to stumble onto the show will be a bonus.
According to Yahoo’s chief marketing officer (quoted on Vulture), the company is willing to consider keeping the show going beyond the sixth season after they have had an opportunity to evaluate this new batch of episodes, though any possible future seasons would also be dependent on the actors agreeing to continue doing the show.
But beyond Monday’s announcement, which in itself was a huge boost to the show’s fans, there are faint rumblings that the “movie” part of #sixseasonsandamovie may also be happening. (I have an idea that I think would work really well for a Community movie: following Troy’s departure to sail around the world, he becomes lost at sea, or stranded, or captured by pirates or something like that, and manages to convey a distress signal or call for help to Abed, who recruits the rest of the group to help him save Troy. It’d be part action comedy, part road movie, with ample opportunity for heartwarming elements of friendship alongside large-scale mayhem. Any Community producers reading this are welcome to the idea, as long as I get a story credit.)
The fact that a throwaway line from a fake clip show in season two of a beloved but relatively obscure sitcom now has a better than average chance of becoming reality is as ludicrous as it is delightful, which basically sums up Community.