The cult hit TV show Community is being saved after all. The poorly rated series was cancelled by NBC after completing its fifth season and had been looking to online streaming services to save it, but reports came out last week that talks with Hulu had broken down, and the future of the series was looking grim as the actors’ contracts approached expiration. The cancellation was particularly heartbreaking given that the show’s creator, Dan Harmon, had promised fans that his goal was to make the show last for six seasons and a movie.
Now, Yahoo has announced that it’s picked up the beloved series for its online TV streaming service, Yahoo Screen. “I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in a press release from Yahoo. “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!”
“‘The reports of our cancellation 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,” said star Joel McHale, who plays a disgraced and disbarred lawyer forced to go back to community college when it’s discovered that he doesn’t have a legitimate degree, in the press release.
Even though things weren’t looking good with Hulu, sources close to the situation had hinted that there were other players interested, and that Sony wasn’t inclined to give up on the series. “We, more than any other studios, fight for shows that we believe in,” Sony Pictures Television co-President Jamie Erlicht told The Hollywood Reporter. “This show had a remarkable history. There are real conversations we need to have with everyone as soon as we get back. We’ve been on the receiving end of some phone calls, but we really need to get together with the Community team and have real conversations and figure out the future. If there’s any show that should have a future or could have a future, it really feels like Community is the one.”
Added Erlicht in the announcement: “You can’t get to six seasons and a movie without a 6th season. Yahoo is the perfect home for the continuation of this journey.”
Despite its low ratings, Community has been praised for its unique approach to storytelling, which has gained the series a small but dedicated fan base, aspects that have led to comparisons with Arrested Development, which was cancelled by Fox after three seasons of dismal ratings but got picked up by Netflix last year. All this attention from the cancellation will certainly lead to more viewers giving the show a try and stands to grow its cult following.
The addition of Community to Yahoo Screen will be mutually beneficial for both the show and Yahoo. The company’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, has been looking to create a real competitor to Google’s YouTube but has thus far been unsuccessful. She envisions Yahoo Screen as a provider of high-quality online video content, and it already offers a series hosted by celebrity reporter Katie Couric as well as the archives of Saturday Night Live. Community fans desperate for that sixth season will have to come to Yahoo’s video service, which has not proven as popular as YouTube or Hulu or Netflix.
“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 6,” said Kathy Savitt, CMO of Yahoo.
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