Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Mystery: Who Will Community Cast as the Greendale Gang's New Professor?

School’s out for summer on NBC’s Community, but when Greendale’s elite study group returns for Season 3 come Sept. 22, which class will its members have in common? We got our hands on some casting intel that suggests Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger and his buddies are headed for a crash course in biology — with a brand new professor. The show’s casting department is looking for an African-American male in his late 30s or early 40s to fill the role. He’s said to be an “imposing,” sometimes scary guy who has just been released from jail — but is actually a darn good educator. Here, TVLine provides a few suggestions:

Common | Attention Community casting department: This is your man! In fact, anyone who saw Common score laughs as a corrupt cop opposite Steve Carell and Tina Fey in 2010’s Date Night has to wonder if Community‘s writers were envisioning the musician-turned-actor when they dreamed up this new role.

Idris Elba | He’s been a big bad boss on The Office, so we know he fits in on NBC’s Thursday night lineup. And he’s been a big bad druglord on HBO’s The Wire, so we know he can handle that whole “imposing” character thing. But can he handle going toe-to-toe with the big bad hosts of Troy and Abed in the Morning? Something tells us the answer is yes.

Morris Chestnut | Fresh off his stint as a scaly-skinned Visitor on ABC’s V, Chestnut could use a comedic palate cleanser — perhaps in the Greendale College dining hall.

Djimon Hounsou | That accent alone is enough send shivers up the spines of the Community gang — and make the girls weak in the knees. Added bonus: Perhaps the addition of an Academy Award nominee to the cast will help Community avoid getting snubbed at the 2012 Emmys.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson | He’s part pro-wrestler, part Tooth Fairy — with a massive physical presence that’d be extra-imposing in a cramped, classroom setting. Plus, dude has more charm in his little (raised) eyebrow than most of us can muster up in a lifetime. Yep, here’s a casting choice who could take some names, kick some ass, and make us laugh.

Eriq La Salle | If ER‘s Dr. Carter can battle aliens over on TNT’s Falling Skies, we can certainly imagine Dr. Benton busting the chops of Greendale’s finest. It’s been years since La Salle’s had a substantial television role — let alone one that requires showcasing that megawatt smile of his — so why not return to the Peacock’s Thursday-night lineup and have some fun again?

Tyra Banks | So, she doesn’t fit the exact casting description (you know, being a lady and all), but who is more imposing — and more of a self-proclaimed “teacher” (um, America’s Next Top Model?!) — than this onetime catwalker? Added bonus: Anyone who follows McHale’s work on The Soup knows he’s got quite the past with Ty-Ty, so seeing these two play off of each other could be comedy gold.

Okay, TVLine readers, it’s your turn. Hit the comments with your suggestions for Community‘s next great professor.