NBC spared a lot of fans a lot of nailbiting this afternoon and announced that it is bringing back Community, Parks and Recreation and The Office for another season. 30 Rock was already renewed as of last fall. As for the other Thursday comedies: there is a very, very low ratings bar at NBC right now, but Outsourced and Perfect Couples have not yet cleared it.
The Office news—however advisable for the show creatively after Steve Carell leaves—is unsurprising. It’s NBC’s biggest hit comedy by far, and the network is not letting it go any time soon. (And let’s be optimistic: the show’s been great before, and maybe Carell’s departure will creatively energize it.)
To be honest, I expected both Community and Parks and Rec to return too—see the low bar, and their creative praise, which is about all NBC has going for it. Honor is the last refuge of a low-rated network. But the early announcement spares us worry the sad spectacle of fans debating which of two excellent shows more deserved saving from the bubble. The bubble is dead! Long live Pawnee and Greendale!
Excerpts from the announcement after the jump (mostly because it quotes me):
NBC has issued pickups for three returning comedy series in 2011-12 that include “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Community,” it was announced today by Bob Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment.
“I am so pleased to renew these three outstanding comedies which are all at the top of their game creatively,” said Greenblatt. “Along with ’30 Rock,’ they represent the best of what the NBC comedy brand stands for in terms of originality, wit, and sophistication. ‘The Office’ continues to fire on all cylinders on the most competitive night of television; ‘Parks & Recreation’ has come into its own this season as the rightful companion to ‘The Office’; and ‘Community’ is one of the freshest comedies on any network and a solid foundation for Thursday night.”
“The Office” (Thursdays, 9-9:30 p.m. ET) is delivering a 4.0 rating, 10 share in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers overall through the season’s first 25 weeks, ranking in primetime’s top 15 in adults 18-49 and top five in adults 18-34 (excluding NFL pre- and post-game shows), making it NBC’s #1 scripted show in both categories. “The Office” is the #2 most upscale primetime show on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or CW in terms of its concentration of adults 18-49 living in homes with $100,000-plus incomes, behind only NBC’s “30 Rock.”
Season to date, “Parks and Recreation” (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET) is delivering a 2.8/7 in 18-49 and 5.5 million viewers overall. With its move this season to Thursday’s 9:30 p.m. ET half-hour, “Parks and Recreation” is up versus last season by 17 percent in adult 18-49 rating (2.8 vs. 2.4) and up 9 percent in total viewers (5.5 million vs. 5.1 million). In the valuable adult 18-34 demographic, “Parks and Recreation” is NBC’s #2 scripted series and ranks in the top 20 overall with a 3.2 rating.
“Community” (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) is averaging a 2.1/6 in 18-49 and 4.7 million viewers overall, continuing to deliver solid numbers in a time period that includes competition from Fox’ “American Idol,” CBS’s “Big Bang Theory” and ABC’s “Wipeout.” “Community” is also one of the most upscale primetime series on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or CW, with a top-15 ranking in its concentration of adults 18-49 living in home with $100,000-plus incomes.
One of television’s most critically acclaimed comedies, “The Office” has been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series every season and won the award in 2006. Its ensemble has also been nominated every season since 2006 for the SAG Award (winning in 2007 and 2008) and was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for four consecutive seasons (2007-2010). The series received the George Foster Peabody Award in 2006.
In a recent cover story, Entertainment Weekly proclaimed that “Parks and Recreation” is “TV’s smartest comedy.” GQ magazine also enthused: “Look: This is the best comedy going right now.”
TV critics continued to rave about “Community” this season. Time magazine’s James Poniewozik wrote: “Episode by episode, ‘Community’ makes some of the best half-hours on TV.” “‘Community’ is a fantastical, dreamlike jewel-box of a show….it’s a pretty amazing ride…” Also, TV Guide’s Matt Roush called the series, “TV’s most adventurous and unpredictable sitcom.”
In addition, both “Parks and Recreation” and “Community” were honored last week by the prestigious William S. Paley Festival.