Well, you know the old saying, “You can’t get to six seasons and a movie without a 6th season,” (per Jamie Erlicht, President of Sony Pictures TV Programming & Production).
And so it goes for TV’s Community. Talks for the show’s renewal went down to the wire as cast contracts were set to expire June 30. But series producer Sony sealed a deal with Yahoo for Community‘s season 6 – and 13 new episodes airing weekly this fall on Yahoo Screen.
Community was canceled by NBC in May, and Sony worked to find a new home for the show ever since. There were serious season 6 conversations with Hulu as it already syndicates the show’s previous seasons. Timing worked to Sony’s benefit as Community‘s free agency happened around Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer’s plan to jump into first-run programming like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu – and Yahoo struck a better deal. With its devoted following by a core group of passionate fans, Community is the type of show digital platforms crave.
“We were in pretty advanced conversations with Hulu and we had made a half-dozen or so phone calls to other places. Then out of the blue — and this never happens — I got the best phone call in the world from Yahoo selling us on why Yahoo would be great destination [for Community]. 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.” –from an interview with Zack Van Amburg, Sony Pictures TV President of Programming & Production
By the numbers: after a lot of upheaval, Community’s season 5 was drawing about 1 million viewers per episode, somewhere between 1 and 2 percent of the people watching TV while it was on. That’s not great for a Thursday night on NBC, but would be pretty stellar at Yahoo Screen. The show was finding its groove again, and fans wanted more.
“The reports of our cancellation have been greatly exaggerated. #SixSeasonsAndaMovie is real. Thank you Sony. Thank you Yahoo. Thank you Dan Harmon. And thank you to the greatest f%$#ing fans in the history of the human race. It’s the internet. We can swear now.” –Joel McHale
Creator Harmon and cast members McHale, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Ken Jeong, Danny Pudi, and Jim Rash have all signed for season 6.
“I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in a statement.” And at the show’s PaleyFest panel in March, Harmon said he’d try his best to get Donald Glover back on the show if and when they were picked up. This is great news for Troy and Abed fans.
Sony has brokered deals for other cancelled shows (Damages, Drop Dead Diva, and Unforgettable) that went on to air multiple seasons post-cancellation. Yahoo’s chief marketing officer said, “Our hope is … that [Community] has a healthy future for season 6 and well beyond.” This doesn’t guarantee the show will go beyond 6 seasons, but does indicate how interested Yahoo is in the franchise.
And when asked about Community’s future, Van Amburg teased, “I don’t know, let’s see how our movie does!” #SixSeasonsAndaMovie
So Dean Pelton is officially wishing you another magic year at Greendale—ranked America’s #2 community college by GreendaleCommunityCollege.com. Will you be watching? Sound off on the GEEK Facebook page, or add your comments below.
Images: NBC, Yahoo