As at least (almost) five million people are already aware, last night marked Community‘s triumphant return to NBC after an extended hiatus. The sitcom’s first new episode since December wasn’t only a victory in terms of quality, but also in terms of ratings. Community has been on the receiving end of meager ratings since the series’ inception, but last night delivered an unprecedented viewer intake: 4.9 million, with a 2.2 in the 18-49 demographic.
Clearly, the excitement over Community‘s return contributed significantly to the ratings. Since it was announced that the show would be suspended indefinitely back in the fall, a surge of support for the series manifested among the viewing public.
Beyond the revitalized passion of the fan base, however, there was another potential contributing factor to Community‘s high ratings last night. The CBS hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which shares an 8 p.m. ET/PT Thursday time slot with Community, did not air a new episode last night. This alone would not necessitate high ratings for Community. Even when TBBT was off before, its competitor has not fared nearly this well.
If this sort of ratings intake can continue steadily for the rest of Community‘s season, it might well result in the desired fourth season, which is still up in the air. Keep watching, Greendale fans!