NBC Strikes Again – Community Premiere Postponed Indefinitely

NBC, you are really working on my last nerve.

It was announced yesterday that the peacock network has decided to delay the fourth season premiere of my beloved Community, which was originally slated to debut on Friday October 19th. They have also delayed the debut of the second season of Whitney (which is of no concern to me because that show is horrible). Both shows will premiere at a time to be determined.

Community has been through quite a bit in the last six months. First, NBC decided to move the show from its spot in the Thursday night comedy line up to the television ghetto that is Friday nights. I wasn’t happy, but thought perhaps the rating challenged show would be able to flourish on a night where there were lower expectations for ratings. Community’s devoted fan base would follow the show, which might be enough to keep it on the air beyond its reduced order of episodes for this season. Then NBC decided to fire the creator and show runner of the show, Dan Harmon, who was the creative mastermind behind Community’s very specific sense of humor. Community is definitely quirky, with its meta-commentary and pop culture references and homages, and it is hard to imagine how the show would run without Harmon at the helm. I accepted it because I had no choice, but I was than optimistic.

And now this latest indignity of pulling the show from the schedule. It must have been a last minute decision, as they had already sent out the new showrunners on a media tour to talk about the new (now delayed) season. The press release from the network about this move was classic NBC. Apparently, the network is unable to promote or focus on an entire week of programming at the same time. From the statement:

“Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks —including winning the first week of the season in adults 18-49 — we’ve decided to continue to concentrate our promotional strength on our new NBC shows that are scheduled Monday through Wednesday and have therefore decided to hold Community and Whitney from their previously announced premieres of Oct. 19. Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week.”

So basically, NBC cannot handle their own success. They are unable to successfully promote more than 3 nights of shows at any one time. The shows on Monday- Wednesday also benefited the most from promotion during the Olympics, so I am not really sure what the network thinks that more promotion will do. What is also interesting about this statement is that NBC seems to be conceding Thursday nights, which means that the comedies that they are airing that night aren’t doing particularly well in the ratings. If there was any doubt left, the days of Thursday night “Must See TV” – a NBC stronghold dating back to the eighties – is now over.

The good news is that because this is NBC, even though they are bragging about ratings success, some shows will inevitably crash and burn. New programs Guys with Kids and Animal Practice are kind of tanking (sorry Jimmy Fallon) and Up All Night is struggling quite a bit on Thursday. So if and when any of these programs is cancelled (or in the case of Up All Night, the show isn’t extended beyond its limited 13 episode order), Community (or Whitney) could be subbed in for the departed show. If the shows are not immediately cancelled, NBC could also decide to move said programs to another night to see if they do better which would also open up a spot for the shows that are on hold. So Community could wind up on a more viewer friendly night than Friday; they just have to root against the success of other NBC shows to get it. And of course, NBC could decide to give the slot to Whitney and continue to hold Community because there is no justice in this world. And NBC didn’t get to where they are today with sound decision making.

I’m tremendously disappointed in this latest setback; Community was the one show that I was most looking forward to returning this fall. The way that the show has been treated, any hope I had that the show would live to see a fifth season has basically evaporated. With 30 Rock and The Office soon ending their runs, Parks and Recreation on borrowed time and the inevitable end of Community, the days when I watch anything on NBC may soon be gone. Go On is fun, but it’ not enough to keep me tuning into the peacock during prime time. I may soon be taking my coveted 18-49 demographic and disposable income elsewhere.

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