‘Community’ Being Moved to Friday Nights…Without Dan Harmon?!
‘Community‘ may not have a huge audience, but its fanbase is about as passionate as they get. When the news came that the show was being renewed for a 13 episode fourth season, you could feel the sigh of relief reverberate throughout the internet. Then came the news that the show was being moved to Fridays. And being paired with ‘Whitney.’ And that creator and showrunner Dan Harmon may not be coming back.
First of all, it should be acknowledged that NBC didn’t have to bring back ‘Community’ in the first place and the fact that the frequently under-watched show is getting another season really is a blessing (shades of ‘Arrested Development’ getting its third and final season back in 2006). NBC is aware of what it has in ‘Community.’ It has a show that people genuinely love and are passionate about and will continue to discuss and explore long after it is off the air. NBC just doesn’t know how to sell it. Who can blame them? How do you sell ‘Community’ to a television audience who have allowed ‘Two and a Half Men‘ to stay on for ten years?
So they’re moving ‘Community’ to Friday nights, AKA, the death slot, the place where shows go to quietly perish. Scheduling ‘Whitney’ as lead-in is especially ironic, since it’s frequently been ‘Community’ fans’ number one example of what’s wrong with television comedy. Seeing the two of them lumped together, to die lonely deaths, is just plain sad. How many new viewers are going to actually going to make it through an episode of ‘Whitney,’ let along hang around for the episode of ‘Community’ that follows.
Of course, NBC chairman Robert Greenblatt doesn’t believe that he’s sentencing the shows to death. As he told EW: “ I know that most people in our industry think Friday is a graveyard but we don’t really believe that.” He goes on to cite the success that ‘Grimm‘ has found on Fridays, but having the most successful show on a Friday is like having the prettiest baby at an Ugly Baby Competition.
The final punch in the groin for ‘Community’ fans is the uncertain involvement of Dan Harmon, a man who has become just as known for his frequent battles with the network (and Chevy Chase) as he has for his work on the show. Greenblatt didn’t share any details, but he assured EW that conversations are happening: “I expect Dan’s voice to be a part of the show somehow, I’m just not sure if that means he’s running it day-to-day or consulting on it.”
As opinionated and vitriolic as Harmon can be, it’s hard to imagine ‘Community’ without him as the chief guiding voice. However, the final plan for ‘Community’ is still not in stone. Maybe Harmon will stick around. Maybe the show will find a dedicated audience on Fridays. We can say this much: the days of NBC’s Thursday nights being the best night on television are coming to a close. Remember when ‘Parks and Recreation,’ ‘Community,’ ‘The Office‘ and ‘30 Rock‘ were all in their prime and all played in the same block? Those were the days.