'Community' and its creator Dan Harmon blew our minds once more with the announcement that the Greendale Gang had survived cancellation yet again to produce a sixth season with Yahoo Screen, but is class really back in session? Find out everything we know about 'Community''s six seasons and a movie with our guide to Greendale's major Yahoo deal!
How Close to Cancellation Did 'Community' Get?
According to Sony Pictures TV programming president Zack Van Amburg, things got pretty down to the wire. Not only were the cast’s contracts set to expire by the end of June 30, Sony had initially brushed off Yahoo’s overtures of buying rights to the series in favor of Hulu.
After Sony finally gave up on NBC president Bob Greenblatt offering the series an additional chance, and Hulu seemed like something of a dead end, Yahoo then put in its bid to a surprised Amburg. From The Hollywood Reporter:
To be honest, we were so far down the path with Hulu that, hopefully not arrogant but [we were], maybe a little bit dismissive of their overture, which made them that much more committed to explaining to us and to Joel McHale and Dan Harmon why this was going to be a cornerstone of the new Yahoo that they're about to unveil to the world. They really want to be close to their users and viewers and wanted it to be a safe destination for creators. It was an excellent and articulate speech.
Where and When Will 'Community' Season 6 Air?
Despite the fact that NBC’s licensing deal with ‘Community’ was cut short with seasons 4 and 5 to produce only 13 episodes apiece, production has generally remained on the same schedule. That said, NBC also had a habit of placing ‘Community’ at midseason, both seasons premiering in early 2013 and 2014, respectively.
While Yahoo has seemingly suggested ‘Community’ season 6 might air in the fall of 2014, a recent tweet from Dan Harmon suggested writing would only begin at that point, likely pushing the premiere to 2015. New episodes will debut on Yahoo Screen, while the current buzz suggests we’ll see one new installment per week, rather than the all-at-once model that Netflix has popularized.
Which Cast Members Will Return?
The majority of remaining cast regulars (Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong) remain under contract with the series, and should thus be front and center for ‘Community’ season 6. That said, Amburg notes that they’ll be making new deals with series stars Joel McHale and Jim Rash, ostensibly the most valuable of the group, considering McHale’s role in championing the series and his commitment to ‘The Soup,’ while Oscar-winner Rash no doubt has plenty of projects on the back burner.
Unfortunately, TVLine has confirmed that Donald Glover will not return as a series regular (if at all), while extensive season 5 guest star Jonathan Banks is now a regular for AMC ‘Breaking Bad’ prequel ‘Better Call Saul.’ We suspect that John Oliver's new HBO series will be keeping him busy, but 'The Daily Show' certainly didn't stop him from a few season 5 appearances, so Professor Duncan remains a possibility.
Will the Creative Team and Budget Stay the Same?
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
As NBC learned the hard way, ‘Community’ is nothing without the involvement of series creator Dan Harmon, and as such Harmon will once again be leading the charge for season 6, having been “intimately involved” in the final negotiations for the Yahoo deal. Not only that, but Yahoo is also actively courting executive producer Chris McKenna to return, as we’ve previously heard Harmon espousing his interest in future ‘Community’ seasons having McKenna by his side again.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t appear as if the sixth season will suffer any budgetary setbacks for the series, as Amburg told THR:
We will not cut any money from what we were doing on the broadcast version of the show. No low-cost digital whatever; Yahoo was spectacular with that and told us how much they stand for quality. You haven't seen a whole slew of announcements out of them but when they make announcements, they want them to be loud and to stand for something. They really were beyond supportive with understanding the production demands of a sixth-year show. They are fully supporting it in their deal and beyond; it's pretty historic.
What About the Movie, or Season 7?
Considering the hell ‘Community’ has slogged through to fulfill its “six seasons and a movie” mantra, it objectively seems all-but-assured the movie will happen in at least some capacity, even if the sixth season proved a poor investment for Yahoo, and it took 20 years to film.
Thankfully, Amburg seems committed to the notion of a movie, saying “I'd be lying if I told you that we have not had some very early and preliminary conversations that are very exciting about what a potential movie could be and who might direct it.” Whether the movie streams on Yahoo or nets a theatrical release, neither side knows for sure just yet.
In fact, Yahoo chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt teased that we might see a life for ‘Community’ past six seasons and a movie, asking “how could we enable not just the existing audience to find it, but to grow that audience so that the show is able to flourish and prosper not just in season six but well beyond?” Adds Amburg:
I don't know, let's see how our movie does! Isn't that our plan? There's no way we're not making the movie now! I think once we make the movie, let's look up and decide how much more Community the world wants. We promised six seasons and a movie, how much more do you want?!
Will Chevy Chase Be Back?
Well, what do you think? Will 'Community' make it to six seasons and a movie after all, or will the Yahoo Screen revival prove the Greendale Gang's undoing? We'll keep up with the latest on the show's miraculous survival, but tell us what you want from 'Community' season 6 in the comments!