NBC’s top exec insists Community has not been sent to Friday night to die.
At the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, Peacock chairman Robert Greenblatt maintained that the cult fave is not necessarily heading into its final season. “I would love nothing more than for Community to have a following on Friday and continue,” he told reporters, adding that the decision to move the show off Thursdays was part of a larger plan to “broaden the audience” of its sitcoms.
“We’re in a transition with our comedy programming,” he explained. “Those Thursday comedies, which the critics love and we love, tend to be a bit more narrow than we would ultimately like as we go forward. Community has always been on the bubble, and we decided to bring it back and see what a fourth season will do for us.”
Regarding the ouster of showrunner Dan Harmon, Greenblatt said, “I think the fans of Community are going to get the same show that they have loved from the beginning. Every so often, it’s time to make a change with the showrunner. You sort of evaluate the creative and how the show is run and how the writing staff works… [and] sometimes you want to freshen the show. We just decided it was time to do that on Community. No disrespect to anyone.”
Other highlights from NBC’s exec session at press tour…
ELECTION DAZE | NBC will air two live primetime Saturday Night Live election specials on Sept. 20 and 27.
VOICE BURNOUT? | Asked if NBC is concerned about airing two cycles of The Voice per season (one in the fall, another in the winter), Greenblatt argued, “Almost every reality franchise does two cycles a season, and one could argue that American Idol and The X Factor are the same show. We’re obviously cautious about expanding it. But we’ve also done some things to the format to ensure that it’s an even better show.”
STERN WARNING | The addition of Howard Stern on America’s Got Talent didn’t exactly move the ratings needle for the network, but network reality boss Paul Telegdy isn’t complaining. “Given the television landscape,” he said, “we’re thrilled with the perfformance of the show and would be delighted if Howard wants to come back.
TODAY TROUBLES | “Shows go through transitions” that “are always difficult,” Greenblatt said in response to a question about the rocky departure of Ann Curry on Today. “We took as much care as [we] could to make this transition happen. It’s never easy.”