A few weeks ago, Alison Brie tweeted this photo of her with her Community castmates — Danny Pudi, Gillian Jacobs, Joel McHale, and Jim Rash – excitedly looking forward to the season 4 premiere on October 19th. And why shouldn’t they have been psyched? It’s been over a year since NBC first hinted that they might cancel the quirky, meta sitcom, and both fans and the cast have only just started to settle in confidently to the prospect of season 4.
And now they get the rug ripped out from them once again! NBC just pulled Community – and Whitney, but no one cares about that — from its schedule, meaning neither one will premiere next Friday as planned. Huh? The network’s official statement doesn’t make us feel any better about the situation, either:
Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks — including winning the first week of the season in A18-49 — 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 October 19th. Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week — plus we will have both comedies in our back pocket if we need to make any schedule changes on those nights. When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of Whitney and Community.
As CinemaBlend points out, it’s really troubling to see NBC treating its own show so shittily. Sure, the network may be doing unexpectedly well with shows like The Voice and Revolution earlier in the week, but that’s no reason to not put any time or money into marketing a show that has a guaranteed, passionate fanbase.
Really, though, I blame all of the new scheduling bullshit about “summer premieres” and “fall finales.” This wouldn’t have happened if television followed the established patterns of fall to spring — you know, the patterns that have been working for decades — and shows came out at the same time. Now there’s too much wiggle room, too much opportunity for executives to get greedy and move things around with a moment’s notice. And the “back pocket” strategy? For all we know, they’ll decide to slip one of these shows in last-minute and then no one will know to watch it, and then they won’t get the ratings they’re grubbing for in the first place. Sigh.
The one silver lining, sites have pointed out, is that by delaying these shows NBC might move them to Wednesday or Thursday, away from the Friday-night death slot. But it’s not like the network has promised that at all. We’re going on nothing here. So far the cast hasn’t given much response to the decision, though Joel McHale has retweeted articles about the hiatus.
And that photo from Alison Brie? Kinda awkward now.