Update 5/21/2012: Community has been renewed for a 13 episode fourth season. That's the good news. The possibly bad news is that it will now air on Friday nights (which isn't necessarily a death sentence). The really bad news is that showrunner and creative mastermind Dan Harmon has been fired. So, a bit of a mixed bag, but there will be more Greendale adventures this fall.
Original story: Yesterday, NBC released its midseason schedule, and suddenly TV fans all across the internet were freaking out. Why? Because the schedule is missing several fan favorites — most notably cult-hit sitcom Community.
What gives? Here's the rundown of NBC's biggest changes come January, and what it means for the future of your favorite shows:
Is Community Cancelled?
Short answer: Not yet.
Long answer: Community is off the schedule for now, and Thursday nights were given a big makeover. 30 Rock is taking over Community's 8 pm slot, while freshmen sitcom Up All Night has been moved to the post-Office 9:30 pm spot (Whitney has shifted to Wednesdays). Critical darling Prime Suspect is out at 10 pm, replaced by midseason newbie The Firm.
However, all official word is that Community is on hiatus, not cancelled. NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt is on the record saying that Community "has not been canceled," and will return later in the spring.
Still, this is a bad sign for the prospect of a Season 4, right? Well, yeah, it's clearly not great. However, NBC has already stuck with Community longer than any other network would have, which means they like it. The show is critically acclaimed and, importantly, it has a loyal, if small, fanbase — a positive for the struggling NBC, which has more than enough shows on the chopping block.
Plus, if it gets a fourth season, it will have enough episodes to be sold into syndication, and Community co-producer Sony has a history of pushing hard to have their borderline shows stay on air long enough to hit that magical syndication mark. If Community comes back to slightly better ratings in a different time slot, there's still hope.
And remember: Parks and Recreation was put on a several month hiatus by NBC, and then came back better than ever. That said, if you're upset about the way the show is being treated and want to make your voice heard, we have some suggestions about how to help.
Is Community's quirkiness hurting it? We have some thoughts on the matter.
Wait, Prime Suspect is gone?
Again, not yet. The same source told The Hollywood Reporter that NBC plans to continue to air Prime Suspect at some point later in the year, though if you ask us, there's very little chance it will get a second season unless it suddenly takes off in the ratings.
Update: The news just hit that Prime Suspect is shutting down production after Season 1, Episode 13 is completed. It's still not officially cancelled, but it's as good as done. Sorry, Prime Suspect fans. The most you can reasonably hope for at this point is that all 13 episodes are aired.
More bad news: No Awake
If you aren't already sobbing into your Greendale Community College sweatshirts (just us?), we're not done with the disappointing news. High-concept midseason replacement Awake — a drama about a man who switches between two different lives whenever he goes to sleep — was lauded by many critics as one of the best pilots of the season, but it's nowhere to be found on the new schedule. There's no word on when, if ever, this show will hit the small screen.
On the upside, The Voice is back on Mondays 8-10 pm, and it will be followed by the much anticipated Smash, another TV-musical that is supposed to have an edgier, more adult feel than Glee. So that's something to look forward to.
Source: NBC Press Release, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline Hollywood.