Requiem for Community
NBC has all but canceled Community this week, sending the internet abuzz. It is a quality show with a rabid, but small fan base. As a network that was defined by quality in the 80s and 90s, current president of programming Bob Greenblatt claims the he is trying to restore NBC back to its glory days (what else would he say?). With glowing quotes about him (“He’s the strongest creative guy in the marketplace out there right now,” and “He was entirely about what’s best for the network.”), one would assume that he would stick to his critical darling and internet hit. Instead, NBC is really trying to return to their heyday by sticking to the antiquated metrics.
Granted, Community pulled a 1.7 in its last airing, 3.7 points lower than The Big Bang Theory, but we live in the internet age. NBC co-created Hulu to combat piracy, and ABC and FOX recently took it off the market because they are realizing how valuable it can be. On their list of Top TV Shows – All Time, Community ranks 17th. SEVENTEENTH! That’s 82 spots ahead of New Girl! That has to count for something!
Replacing Community is Up All Night (we’re giving 30 Rock a pass since it’s always been on Thursday nights). This is a show starring 40-year-old actors dealing with new parenthood. How many people within the 18-49 demographic relate to this? The latter half? What about the more coveted 18-34 subdemographic? Not many.
NBC was able to justify airing quality programming with lower ratings (St. Elsewhere), because those watching were young, well-educated and more importantly: affluent. This may fall more on advertisers than NBC, but isn’t the 3.84 million Community viewers (who probably watch the show because they identify with going to college) more valuable than the 15.98 million people watching The Big Bang Theory in the 18-49 demographic, which is probably closer to 49 than it is 18? Maybe not, since they’re the only people still buying Dell computers.
Community is still not officially canceled, so there is still hope. Much like Arrested Development (which is 13th-most watched on Hulu), it’s third season is cut short. But hopefully, like Arrested Development (or Firefly or Party Down), Community will prevail!