NBC‘s veteran Community launches its Season 5 on January 2 with back-to-back episodes from 8-9 PM before moving to its old 8 PM Thursday slot. The season will mark the return to the helm by series creator Dan Harmon, who was sacked by the network before last …
UPDATE: NBC Cancels ‘Welcome To The Family’ & ‘Ironside’, Gives ‘Sean Saves The World’ Script Order, Sets Premiere Dates For ‘Community’ & ‘Chicago PD’
UPDATE, 1:55 PM: I’ve learned that NBC‘s other new Thursday comedy awaiting word on its fate, Sean Saves The World, has received an order for 4 additional scripts. While the series posted a 1.1 in adults 18-49 last night, same as freshly cancelled Ironside, it does build on its Welcome To The Family lead-in (0.9 last night), and NBC brass have been encouraged with the show’s creative direction. The third new NBC comedy, The Michael J. Fox Show, has a 22-episode order.
PREVIOUS 13:35: NBC has pulled Ironside and Welcome To The Family three weeks into their freshman runs. Welcome To The Family is gone effective immediately, while Ironside will air one more episode next Wednesday before falling off the schedule. Beginning October 30, repeats, Dateline and specials will air in Ironside’s 10 PM berth until January 8, when Chicago Fire spinoff Chicago P.D. will debut in the slot that successfully launched the mothership series last season. On Thursdays, NBC will air a mix of back-to-back Parks And Recreation episodes and various specials for the next two months, with veteran Community launching its fifth season on January 2 with back-to-back episodes from 8-9 PM before moving to its old 8 PM slot, with current occupant Parks And Rec sliding to Welcome To The Family‘s 8:30 PM period beginning with the January 9 episode, the show’s 100th. Ironside and Welcome To The Family have been among NBC’s lowest-rated series on the air. In their most recent airings, Ironside logged a 1.1 in 18-49, flat with the previous week and the same as Sean Saves The World, while Welcome To The Family was up a tenth to a 0.9. Here is a rundown of NBC’s plans for the two time periods:
The difference between making Adult Swim’s new animated half hour Rick And Morty, and making NBC’s live-action comedy Community at Sony, is that Adult Swim exec vp Mike Lazzo is “a bona fide genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Dan Harmon said this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Harmon came to the tour today to talk about Rick And Morty, the comedy about a genius inventor grandfather and his less-than-genius grandson that Harmon is doing with creator Justin Roiland. But Harmon is best known for creating and exec producing Community, for being sacked from the show last season because of his behavior, for being brought back to the show for its fifth when the fourth one tanked, for saying that watching the fourth season of Community was like “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” and then issuing a mealy-mouthed apology.
“[Lazzo] has the autonomy and the humility and the mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is, a document, read it and then tell you what his reactions are to it as an individual,” Harmon continued, answering the which-place-is-better question. “He never says ‘I don’t think people are going to like this’. He never branches out into the business of speculating into the biomass for which we are creating this opiate. He never says ‘people are going to react this way’ and he never confuses the script for the final product,” Harmon said. Then he added: “On the NBC side, it’s even better.”
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
Although Community creator Dan Harmon offered up few reveals about the cult comedy show’s fifth season at its Hall H Comic-Con panel today, he used the platform to champion the fans to demand a sixth season and a movie with the Twitter campaign #SIXSEASONSANDAMOVIE. “I created a machine that eats pain and craps joy. The people in this room gave us five seasons. It’s about legacy and six seasons and a movie,” exclaimed Harmon to the throng of screaming fans. “Nobody wants to not fail more than me,” Harmon told moderator Chris Hardwick, “I don’t consider these the last 13. I will do everything I can to get us the sixth season.”
Still undetermined is when Community will air on NBC next spring. As far as new storylines, Harmon — who didn’t brainstorm any during his time off — only said, “We need to re-establish these characters. I don’t want to plan too hard. We’re taking a different approach in the writers room, and we’ll be done shooting by Christmas.” Harmon also mentioned that he wouldn’t undo the story arcs laid out in Season 4 in an effort to maintain the show’s “organic spirit” and apologized again to fans for his snarky podcast remarks slamming Community’s recent run.
UPDATE: Dan Harmon took to Twitter and his blog to apologize for the “very un-Community” comments in Sunday’s podcast rant. He offered a mea culpa to the show’s fans, its crew, and the writers on the fourth season that Harmon was absent for: “I’m sorry I pooped on your work.” Harmon also apologized for using language that “dehumanize[d] the developmentally disabled” and for “using the word ‘rape’ in a comedic context.” Harmon’s now back at work on Community Season 5.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: At Sunday’s taping of his Harmontown podcast, returning Community creator and exec producer Dan Harmon unloaded on the show’s fourth season, which carried on under writers David Guarascio and Moses Port after NBC replaced Harmon as showrunner last year. “It’s very much like an impression and an unflattering one,” he said. “It’s 13 episodes of ‘I’m Dan Harmon!’ I’m going back to work tomorrow morning and I’m just like, do I talk like that?” Harmon, who is heading back for Season 5 with writer Chris McKenna, compared catching up on the Guarascio and Port-led fourth season to “flipping through Instagram watching your girlfriend blow a million [people].”
EXCLUSIVE: Gillian Jacobs has landed the female lead in MGM’s Hot Tub Time Machine 2, the Steve Pink-directed sequel that stars Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Adam Scott and her former Community co-star Chevy Chase. Jacobs has Walk Of Shame in the can, which she stars in opposite Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden, with Film District releasing September 20. Jacobs also will be seen this fall in the Jacob Vaughan-directed comedy Milo opposite Ken Marino and Peter Stormare, following its SXSW premiere. She also has the Thomas Beatty-directed Teddy Bears opposite Jason Ritter and Melanie Lynskey.
NBC faces the task of scheduling six new comedies for next season with only two returning half-hour series: Community, which received an eleventh-hour 13-episode renewal, and Parks & Recreation. The network may just have the right man for the job. This is head of scheduling Jeff Bader‘s first turn at bat after moving to NBC last summer. As a long-time scheduling topper at ABC, he was presented with a similar challenge four years ago when the network picked up five new comedy series and returned two. Like Parks & Rec and Community, those two returning comedies, Scrubs and Better Off Ted, were quirky cult shows and not anchors that could launch new series. What Bader and ABC brass did back then was let Scrubs and Ted be, pairing them together for what became both series’ final season. Then they took four new comedies and launched a new two-hour comedy block on Wednesday. It worked – three of the four comedies are still on the air: Modern Family and The Middle on ABC and Cougar Town on TBS. (The fourth, Hank, was quickly cancelled.)
Bader may take a similar approach at NBC. Like at ABC in 2009, the two returning NBC comedies are workplace, while most of the new series are family or family-esque (Michael J. Fox, Welcome To The Family, The Family Guide, Sean Saves The World, About A Boy). Coincidentally, the last new comedy series this year, Undateable, is a multi-camera show about dating, which was also the case at ABC in 2009 with Romantically Challenged, which was scheduled behind Dancing With The Stars.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
It wasn’t until the end of tonight’s Community panel at PaleyFest 2013 that the one genuine piece of news emerged, as a clip of the cast as Muppet-like puppets was shown to those at the Saban Theatre. An all-puppet episode featuring extensive use of the performers in puppet form will air in April and include a cameo from Jason Alexander (though not as a puppet). As the panel closed, the cast mates brought out their puppet lookalikes to revel in the moment. The puppet gambit is in keeping with a quirky series that’s already used stop-motion animation and other creative devices to distinguish itself. Earlier, new show runners David Guarascio and Moses Port focused on this Thursday’s episode that finds the introduction of James Brolin in a recurring role as the long-estranged father of star Joel McHale’s character, Jeff Winger. The installment also features Fred Willard in a cameo, and he was also present during a table read that opened the panel.