Bad news for people who like good television: NBC has released its midseason schedule, and "Community" is nowhere on it. New episodes of "30 Rock" will air in "Community's" 8:00 time slot, while "Up All Night" (presently airing Wednesday nights) will trade places on the schedule with "Whitney." New drama "The Firm" -- with Josh Lucas in the Tom Cruise role -- replaces the very good "Prime Suspect," which will die after 13 episodes.
"Community" is NOT canceled -- yet. The rest of Season 3 will air at some as-yet undetermined time, so in the big spectrum of overreactions, right now we're at "The PTA is probably disbanding, but let's wait and see." Here's the crux of it:
"Community" has essentially been on a kamikaze mission for a long time now, going up against "The Big Bang Theory" and one of "American Idol" or "The X Factor" for a while now. It aired after "The Office" briefly at the start of its first season and has had to go it alone ever since. "Whitney," which gets to stay on the schedule has done better entirely because of that "Office" lead-in, and has been bleeding viewers almost as quickly as it's been arousing critical pans. "Community" is a mess ratings-wise, but it's one of NBC's few shows that still draws largely unabashed love from critics. Pulling it off the schedule temporarily given the ratings is understandable; pulling it off the schedule while leaving "Whitney" on is not. Either show is going to do the same pathetic numbers on Wednesdays at 8 - away from its "Office" cocoon, "Whitney" could easily do worse than "Community" would - and one move at least buys continued goodwill from the press and viewers, whereas there's no who will be happy that ["Whitney"] continues to air, week after week. [HitFix]
I was all prepared to whine and cry about this like it's some terrible injustice, but overnight the NYPD made a Gestapo-like raid of Occupy Wall Street, shutting down the subway and bridges and preventing any reporters from witnessing their carte blanche tear-gassing/hippie-stomping. I mean, I don't agree with NBC's decision to pull "Community" from the schedule, but at least they put it in a press release.
Click through for more analysis, NBC's midseason schedule, and Internet reactions.
There's still an outside chance that "Community" will get a Season 4:
Given the way NBC's fortunes have gone lately, I can easily see the new product failing so utterly that NBC pulls a "Chuck" and decides to stick with a known, albeit small, audience for a beloved show. (It also may help that "Community" is produced by Sony, which jumped through hoops to get FOX to keep making "Til Death" episodes for the syndication money a few years back.) [HitFix]
I don't know. Maybe I'm just a fatalist, but the worst-case scenario is three full seasons of "Community" that we can watch forever and ever on DVD. A fourth would be fantastic, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.
MONDAY: Singing is all the rage. "The Voice," which debuts after the Super Bowl, will be paired with Broadway musical drama "Smash," which has generated a lot of positive buzz.
8:00 -- "Biggest Loser"
10:00 -- "Parenthood" until its season ends in February, then the Elle MacPherson-hosted "Fashion Star."
8:00 -- "Whitney"
8:30 -- "Are You There, Chelsea?" (formerly "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea")
9:00 -- "Rock Center with Brian Williams" (new day/time)
10:00 -- "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
8:00 -- "30 Rock"
8:30 -- "Parks and Recreation"
9:00 -- "The Office"
9:30 -- "Up All Night"
10:00 -- "The Firm"
FRIDAY: "Chuck" will continue to air until its two-hour series finale on January 27th. After that:
8:00 -- "Who Do You Think You Are?" returns at 8 on February 3.
9:00 -- "Grimm"
10:00 -- "Dateline"
SATURDAY: Drama repeats.
SUNDAY: "Dateline" / "Harry's Law" / "Celebrity Apprentice"