Community can't go a season on NBC without rumors, upheaval and uncertainty surrounding the show's future. First show creator Dan Harmon departed from the show in a messy fashion — depending on who you believe, Harmon, Chevy Chase and NBC execs didn't get along — and now the show is prepping for the departure of Chevy Chase and his character, Pierce Hawthorne, from season four. While fans loved Harmon, Community's fan base remains as passionate as ever, so much so that they'd like a Community movie.
So what does the show hold beyond season four? Will there be a season five? Robert Greenblatt (Chairman, NBC) and Jennifer Salke (President, NBC Entertainment) gave some updates on Community without revealing any real plans. Since Harmon isn't present in season four, Greenblatt said of the season's tone: "Look, I don't know that I'm the Community expert, but I think you're going to see relatively the same show that you've seen before and I hope that's a good thing. Maybe there's a little more heart built into it, but we didn't fundamentally change it."
More heart?! If Greenblatt is saying that the show has lacked heart up until this point — and with Dan Harmon at the helm — then he's wrong. What show is he watching? Greenblatt was also asked about the show continuing to a season five, to which he replied, "Yea, absolutely, I'm always hopeful for a show to continue. You know we co-own it, the company, and I'd love nothing more than to see it continue." Then there's how they're going to handle the departure of Chevy Chase. "I think we're early on in that. You know, actors come and go on a lot of shows and this is a big ensemble, so I don't think that's going to be in anyway a big negative on the future of the series."
Obligatory Alison Brie picture. You're welcome.
Personally, I'm a huge fan of Community. I'd love to see the show continue for a couple more seasons, culminating with a movie. Do I think that will happen? Probably not. Why? Because things I like get doomed to cancelation. Friday Night Lights, Flashforward, Alcatraz — just a few examples of shows I committed to. About the departure of Chase, I don't think it'll be that hard to handle. I've always felt that the show sometimes forced Pierce Hawthorne onto us when he didn't need to play that big of a role. And while I'm a fan of Chevy Chase's work, he wasn't the choice of Dan Harmon for the role.
Then there's NBC's Parks and Recreation. As to whether it would be renewed, Greenblatt said, "I hate to sort of predict, because it's a long way between now and May, but we love Parks and Rec and we love Amy Poehler and that whole cast. We love what Time Magazine said about it. We love what critics say about the show. And I'm hopeful that it goes on and on. Same with Community. But anything can happen between now and the end of the [season]." President of NBC Entertainment Jennifer Salke said that for both Community and Parks and Rec to continue: "We hope that that core group of viewers comes and shows up."
In all honesty, it doesn't sound good for either show. They're both great shows, but when TV executives talk like this, it usually means a show is getting axed.
Parks and Recreation continues its season on NBC on January 17. Community: Season 4 premieres on February 7. I know I'll be watching both, and I encourage everyone to give the two shows — especially Community — its best ratings yet.