11:26am PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC Boss Optimistic About Fifth Season of 'Community,' Says Comedy Will Have More Heart
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt is optimistic about the future of Community.
Following his presentation to critics Sunday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour, the executive told reporters that the series, which fired creator and showrunner Dan Harmon last year, could continue on to a fifth season.
"Yes, absolutely," he said when asked if the cult favorite but ratings underperformer could continue after its upcoming fourth season. "I'm always hopeful for a show to continue. We co-own it and I'd love nothing more than to see it continue."
The Joel McHale starrer from Sony Pictures Television has been bumped around the network's schedule, initially being slotted on Fridays for a later start at the start of the fall season.
After yanking the series from its planned return on Oct. 19, the network scheduled Community for Feb. 7 at 8 p.m., returning the series to its former time slot. The series, under new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port, will take over the spot now occupied by the final season of Tina Fey's 30 Rock, which will have wrapped its 13-episode run.
As for changes to the ensemble, Greenblatt said much of the show would remain as is with some subtle differences.
"I don't know that I'm the Community expert, but I think you're going to see relatively the same show that you have seen before," he said. "There is a little bit more heart built in to it, but we didn't fundamentally change it."
With the departure of co-star Chevy Chase from the series, Greenblatt said his exit hasn't yet been addressed for a potential fifth season as it's early in the process.
"Actors come and go on a lot of shows and this is a big ensemble; I don't think that's in any way going to be a big negative about the future of the show. He's in everything but two episodes," he said.
Beyond the future of Community, the executive also noted that he'd like to remain in business with McHale with the potential to ink the host of E!'s The Soup to an overall deal.
"We've not started talking to Joel yet but I definitely want to if Community doesn't go forward and even if it does," he said. "For the future, I think he's great. But we don't have any official plan yet. I could see him in anything, I think he can do what ever he wants."