The Shuffle: 'Community' Rally

By Conner, Shea | St. Joseph News-Press, July 3, 2014 | Go to article overview

The Shuffle: 'Community' Rally


Conner, Shea, St. Joseph News-Press


As the quirky sitcom "Community" was placed on the chopping block season after season, its loyal fans took to a rallying cry: "Six seasons and a movie!"

When NBC finally canceled the show in May, after its fifth season, it looked as if the fans, the cast and the crew would fall just short of fulfilling that goal. But an unlikely Web entity came to save the day.

Earlier this week, Yahoo struck a deal with the producers at Sony Pictures Television to stream a 13-episode, sixth season of the Dan Harmon-created comedy.

The Yahoo deal represents a somewhat miraculous rescue for "Community," which many in the industry thought was dead when cable network after cable network passed on the show. But Sony programming chiefs Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, as they have in the past with many programs on Sony's roster (like "Damages," "'Til Death" and "Rules of Engagement"), continued to explore every avenue to keep the show alive.

Things looked especially bleak when Sony couldn't clinch a deal with Hulu to pick up "Community." The Internet streamer was seriously interested in securing exclusive rights to a sixth season, as it already syndicates past seasons, but the negotiations ended over economic disputes. On the other hand, Yahoo was eager to shell out the money and bring the Greendale gang on board.

"You can't get to six seasons and a movie without a sixth season," Erlicht said after the announcement.

Let's take a look at that sixth season and what it means for both Yahoo and the show going forward.

What it means for "Community"

Perhaps "Community" star Joel McHale said it best.

"Thank you, Sony. Thank you, Yahoo. Thank you, Dan Harmon," the actor and host of "The Soup" said. "And thank you to the greatest (expletive) fans in the history of the human race. It's the Internet. We can swear now."

Four-letter words and F-bombs aside, "Community" should be even funnier now that it's exclusively on the Web. The meticulously nerdy sitcom always seemed like an oddity over at NBC, where network higher-ups always dipped their spoons in the show's creative stew. They wanted "Community" to gain a broader appeal - so much so that NBC had divisive showrunner Dan Harmon fired after the third season. Harmon was brought back for the fifth season after the fourth was absolutely derided by fans and critics.

At Yahoo, Harmon, executive producer Chris McKenna and the writers almost certainly will be given much more freedom to run with any crazy idea they'd like. …

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