2:45pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Community' Returning for Sixth Season on Yahoo Screen
It's official: Community is returning for a sixth season — on Yahoo Screen.
Studio Sony Pictures Television has revived Dan Harmon's cult comedy series for 13 new episodes to launch in the fall on Yahoo Screen, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Showrunner Harmon as well as stars Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong and Jim Rash will return. Exec producers Russ Krasnoff, Gary Foster and Chris McKenna also will be back.
The news comes after NBC canceled the ratings-challenged cult comedy in May, with Hulu said to be among the early suitors to revive the series.
"I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in a statement Monday. “I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, Big Bang Theory. Look out, Bang Bus!”
Adds Mc Hale, " 'The reports of our cancelation have been greatly exaggerated.' — Mark Twain (The other version of this quote has been wrong for years). #SixSeasonsAndaMovie is real. Thank you Sony. Thank you Yahoo. Thank you Dan Harmon. And thank you to the greatest f%$#ing fans in the history of the human race. It’s the internet. We can swear now."
“Yahoo is all about connecting the best creators to the audiences who love their work. Community has an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base who have fought hard to keep this amazing show alive. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Dan, Joel and the entire cast, as well as Sony, to deliver a great season six,” said Kathy Savitt, CMO of Yahoo.
"The fans spoke and we listened. Thanks to Yahoo, and the amazing team that makes Community great, we've avoided the Darkest Timeline yet again and plan to deliver a fantastic season," said Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production at SPT.
The series hails from Krasnoff-Foster Entertainment and Harmonious Claptrap production in association with Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television.
SPT has a history of fighting for its original programming. The studio packaged Community with The Blacklist last year. SPT co-president Jamie Erlicht told THR on May 14 — a week after NBC canceled Community — that the studio had received phone calls from multiple outlets looking to revive the series. "If there's any show that should have a future or could have a future, it really feels like Community is the one."
Community already has a big online presence. Hulu has been the exclusive streaming home for the first five seasons of the series — ranking as one of the streaming service's most-watched originals. The service aired episodes the day after their original broadcast. Comedy Central airs syndicated repeats.
Meanwhile, outspoken showrunner Harmon — who was replaced for Community's fourth season — admitted to feeling "eh" at first when studio SPT floated the idea about the show living on elsewhere: "For a million reasons, some selfish, some creative, one logistic, five sexual, three racist (in a good way) and, oddly, nine isometric." But after several days, Harmon promised that he "won’t be lukewarm" about a revival should it become a serious conversation. "I said ‘eh’ on a Friday afternoon, I will change it to a ‘sure, let’s talk’ on Monday morning and Sony can do their thing,” he wrote. “I’m not going to be the guy that re-cancels canceled Community.”
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Harmon was careful to temper fan expectations about a Community return. "I’m scared to tell you how little a difference I think my enthusiasm will make," he wrote. "I know fandom, when it gets this deep for this long, becomes almost religious, including the urge to stone the less than faithful. But there are lots of reasons a Community resurrection could be difficult. So be prepared for that."
Community has been a perennial bubble series during the course of its five-season run. It was one of only two comedies to return to NBC's schedule for the 2014-15 season (Parks and Recreation was the other). NBC's decision to cancel Community left Parks as its longest-running comedy heading into the 2014-15 season. (That series, like Community, was held back for midseason, where the series will bow out with a 13-episode final run.)
For their part, Harmon and the cast have been vocal about the possibility of a sixth-season pickup. Speaking at PaleyFest in March, star McHale joked: "We know there's going to be a sixth season or else you'll probably show up with pitchforks and torches," with Harmon saying the only thing weirder than getting a sixth season "would be not getting a sixth season."
Yahoo — which found shortform success in 2012 with The Bachelor spoof Burning Love — unveiled its first two longform projects at April’s Digital Content NewFronts in New York. Other Space, from exec producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), follows a ragtag group of space explorers who find an alternate universe, and Sin City Saints, from director Bryan Gordon (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and exec producer Mike Tollin (Smallville), tells the story of a Las Vegas professional basketball team. The half-hour comedies, which both have eight episode orders, build on Yahoo’s plan to build a hub for comedy content, which began in August with the announcement that it would develop eight shortform comedy series to complement its library of Saturday Night Live clips.
“This is just the beginning,” Yahoo head of strategic video programs Bonnie Pan told THR during NewFronts. “Other Space and Sin City Saints are the first two original comedies in Yahoo’s new lineup of longform shows with more to come this year.”
Natalie Jarvey contributed to this report.