Hey, you remember that thing where NBC was all, “Oh, we’re going to pick up shows with broader appeal, because we’re tired of being the network with niche comedies only watched by niches?” Yeah, about that…
To go along with a sixth season for Parks And Recreation, NBC has added a fifth season for Community, the announcement officially made a few minutes ago, as per The Hollywood Reporter. The only other comedy still in contention is The New Normal, which regularly dipped below a 1.0 in the demo when it had no Voice lead-in, so NBC would probably only renew it because it believed Ryan Murphy to have magical powers or something. It would put the score at Niche comedies 2, “broad” comedies 0 (with the potential to score a run later), which is probably not what you would have predicted even in February when Community’s shortened fourth season debuted.
This also officially turns Community into the new Rules Of Engagement, in terms of programming strategy. Obviously, Community is a much better show than Rules, but both are produced by Sony Pictures Television, both have seen surprisingly long runs, and both turned into utility players in the face of their networks not really having anything else. Rules Of Engagement was just canceled by CBS, and since there can be only one random show that keeps getting renewed because it will probably perform slightly better in the ratings than a new show dud, it looks as if Community has inherited that mantle. Anyway, no word on how large of an order the show received or if it’s an order for a final season, but even the standard 13 episodes would bring the show to 97 episodes total, an incredibly long run for a show with this low of ratings. And, for fans, there’s a bonus: The show begins its cable run this fall on Comedy Central, something that could, conceivably, raise the ratings level of first-run episodes (though, we’ll caution, that doesn’t work as often as fans would like to believe it does). As mentioned previously, Chevy Chase will not be a part of the show’s fifth season.
Regardless, if you’re a Community fan, well, you’ll be getting 13 more episodes, and that’s impressive, to say the least.
UPDATE: TV Line confirms that the initial order for the fifth season is for 13 episodes.