TCA 2012: NBC Boss Defends ‘Community’ Move, Insists Firing Wasn’t Personal

ALTTuesday at NBC’s Television Critics Association Executive Panel, entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt addressed the giant, stomping-mad elephant in the room — cult favorite Community‘s move to Friday nights, and the firing of its creator Dan Harmon.

”I would love nothing more than for Community to have a following on Friday and continue,” Greenblatt said, noting that the decision to move the show from its choice Thursday timeslot was part of a larger plan to “broaden the audience” of its sitcoms. “We’re in a transition with our comedy programming. Those Thursday comedies, which the critics love and we love, tend to be a bit more narrow than we would ultimately like as we go forward. Community has always been on the bubble, and we decided to bring it back and see what a fourth season will do for us.”

Greenblatt went on to explain that despite the addition of broader comedies like the monkey-centric Animal Practice and the “Hey, aren’t dads with babies funny?” show Guys With Kids (combined with bigger risks like Matthew Perry‘s therapy sitcom Go On and Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal, which focuses on a gay couple), he’s still open to a few more semesters at Greendale. “The reason we did 13 episodes [of Community] is we wanted to get more comedies on the schedule … which isn’t to say we couldn’t decide at some point to extend those seasons longer.” (Greenblatt also noted that Whitney and Up All Night were “steps in the right direction,” in terms of NBC’s new comedy style, which is why both are returning.)

Finally, Greenblatt tried his best to quell fans’ fears by saying new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port will keep the comedy in line with Harmon’s unique vision, and insisted that Harmon’s firing wasn’t personal. “I think fans of Community are going to get the same show they have loved from the beginning,” he said. “Every so often it’s time to make a change with a show runner. Sometimes you want to freshen a show, and we decided to do that with Community — no disrespect to anyone.”

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[Photo Credit: NBC]


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