American television network NBC announced its new mid-season 2012 schedule last week, premiering four new series.
One show in particular, however, was missing from the line-up.
Community, a series created by Dan Harmon about a group of students at a community college in fictional Greendale, Colorado, was pulled from its regular time slot on Thursday. 30 Rock, starring Tina Fey, will return to the line-up to take its place.
“I was extremely disappointed when I learned that Community wasn’t put on the proposed schedule for last year. NBC is making a big mistake,” said third-year St. Thomas University student Liam McGuire in an email.
But McGuire isn’t the only viewer upset by the news.
Use of the hashtags “#savecommunity” and “#savegreendale” exploded when the announcement was released, and multiple Facebook pages have been created to protest the network’s decision.
McGuire said the hiatus is unfortunate because of the current state of NBC’s comedies. Besides Parks and Recreation, he said, the comedy pool is shallow.
“I really hope that NBC changes its mind, because this show is too damn good to just give up on. What other show would you have Omar from The Wire as a teacher, Chevy Chase being a racist old man who owns a moist-towelette empire, and ‘Troy and Abed in the Morning,’” McGuire said, referring to the characters’ fake morning talk show.
STU student Mark Loggie said it’s a real shame that a show with such earnest humour might be cancelled.
“If they shelve Community I’ll go on a spree of some sort,” he said. “Punching spree, perhaps.”
But while Community receives high praise from critics as well as viewers, its ratings don’t match up with its seemingly adoring viewership.
Ratings website TV By the Numbers showed last Thursday’s Community viewership dwarfed by CBS’s The Big Bang Theory – the latter had over 15-million viewers, while NBC’s comedy had just under four million.
Marc Basque, a student at York University in Toronto, said the problem lies in the way our generation accesses media.
“Everyone who watches Community (i.e. young people) doesn’t have cable,” he said in a Facebook post. “We’re the streaming and downloading generation. So even though everyone you know watches it, we’re not actually helping. We’re just enjoying it for free.”
In the era of downloading television shows and movies for free, it’s possible to forget that networks rely heavily on ratings to decide where shows fit in daily line-ups as well as which ones remain on air.
Cameron McLean, a STU graduate, said while he loves the series, its recycled cheerful message could also explain why it’s on the chopping block.
“I feel that a lot of the episodes have a climax based upon inter-group conflict that’s resolved by a feel-good speech delivered by [main character] Jeff about camaraderie and why they should stay the course, stick together, [and] hang out more,” he said. “I think it’s a really great show regardless, but the really great episodes are becoming fewer and further between.”
NBC hasn’t released a statement about the show’s shelving, but are allegedly vowing that the series hasn’t been cancelled and will resume at a later date. The last episode before the hiatus will be the show’s Christmas episode.
McGuire said he hopes that television doesn’t lose another quality show like Fox’s Arrested Development.
“Sometimes I wish shows would stay on the air because of quality and not be solely based on viewership,” he said. “If it gets cancelled I will have no reason to watch NBC on Thursday nights.”
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