by: Donna Whitehead
In a surprise twist, Yahoo has picked up the recently-cancelled COMMUNITY for a sixth season. The comedy, formerly of NBC, will air 13 new episodes this fall on Yahoo Screen, Yahoo’s digital video channel. When NBC pulled the plug on “Community” back in May, there was a lot of talk about the possibility that it could be revived as an online series. But after talks with Hulu fell through, many lost hope–which makes the pick-up order from Yahoo even stranger and more wonderful.
For a “Community” fan, there are so many questions. What does the sixth season have in story for the study-group-turned-Save-Greendale-committee? Will the change in networks lead to a change in content? Where does one even go to watch Yahoo original programming? (The answer appears to be screen.yahoo.com.) Showrunner Dan Harmon is on board for the new season, as is star Joel McHale and, presumably, the rest of the remaining main cast. (Series regulars Chevy Chase and Donald Glover left the show early in season five.)
I doubt anyone saw this move coming, but in retrospect, the match-up of Yahoo and “Community” makes a strange kind of sense. Yahoo has been trying to build up its original content arm, having announced back in April that it was commissioning two original comedy series–but it has little name recognition in the realm of original programming. Meanwhile, “Community,” which was on the cancellation bubble for pretty much every one of its five previous seasons, already has a built-in Twitter hashtag (#SixSeasonsAndAMovie) and a strong following among the Internet-savvy. Who better to drive traffic to Yahoo’s emerging comedy line-up than “Community,” a show that has always thrived more on buzz than on ratings? And what better home than Yahoo could there be for a show about underdogs, in the face of a fading reputation and failing financing, striving to give their home new life and make it the best it can possibly be?
I’d never have believed it yesterday, but I know where I’ll be turning for comedy this fall.