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'Community' dives during Valentine's ratings bloodbath


Valentine’s Day is a notoriously tough night for broadcast.

Yet the V-Day dip (with overall TV viewing levels down about 6 percent for the night) can’t fully explain what happened to NBC’s Community.

You’ll recall last week’s premiere posted impressively decent ratings given the comedy’s track record (and NBC’s recent track record, for that matter). But Thursday’s second episode fell through the floor —  2.7 million viewers and a 1.1 rating among adults 18-49. That’s down 42 percent from last week to post the show’s lowest-rating ever in the demo. Given your comments on the ratings post for the premiere, clearly many of you felt like the show wasn’t as funny now that showrunner Dan Harmon is no longer on board (or perhaps Community fans are just huge V-Day romantics?).

To be sure, Community is not the only show waking up to bad news this morning. But before we get into the returning favorites, there was a new series premiere last night — ABC’s adventure drama Zero Hour, starring Anthony Edwards as a man unraveling a vast Da Vinci Code-esque conspiracy to try and save his kidnapped wife. “Why would a network debut a new show on a night that’s typically one of the lowest rated of the season?” you ask. That’s a great question. I have no answer. Zero Hour had 6.3 million viewers and a 1.3 rating, down 41 percent from the premiere of Last Resort in the slot earlier this season and ranked as ABC’s lowest-rated in-season premiere ever for a scripted show. When told the ratings, my editor IM’d: “They should have called it The Frozen Clone Nazi Variety Hour.”

So now the returning shows. First, the good news: ABC’s Scandal and CBS’ Elementary were unchanged this week (they’re protected more from the V-Day dip since they air at 10 p.m.). Everything else was down, with Community falling the most and Person of Interest (down 3 percent) the least. Fox’s American Idol, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and The CW’s Vampire Diaries hit season lows (Fox’s Glee looks like a low, but I’m told an episode that was delayed due to baseball during the fall was actually lower).


'Community' surprise: Ratings up


NBC has been getting hammered in the press for its spiraling ratings the past several weeks. New shows Deception, Do No Harm and 1600 Penn have collapsed out of the gate, while the heavily hyped return of Smash bombed earlier this week.

Now here comes little Community, finally back on the air for its fourth season. And guess what? The comedy returned higher — just slightly, mind you, but still: In a season where most shows returned lower, Community bucked that trend. Oh, and the comedy was facing Fox’s American Idol – unlike its fourth season opener — and TV’s top-rated comedy The Big Bang Theory.

Community delivered 4 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49 at 8 p.m., up 6 percent from its previous debut in September, 2011. The show improved on NBC’s average in this slot this season by 38 percent and boosted 8:30 p.m.’s Parks and Recreation to a season high. Meaningless comparison: Community was 50 percent higher than Tuesday’s Smash premiere.

This is sure to be joyous news for the Community team, which has watched NBC heavily promote Smash while pushing their show from its original fall premiere date. And it will also help those renewal odds. As NBC chief Robert Greenblatt said last month, the show could “absolutely” get a fifth season. (Buzzkill disclaimer: Community‘s adult demo rating could be adjusted down to tie its previous premiere rating when Nielsen releases its more accurate numbers this afternoon, but one network analyst said the 1.8 should be sustained — at worst, the comedy managed to remain steady despite increased competition, a protracted hiatus and a showrunner shakeup). UPDATE: In the afternoon nationals, Community went UP to a 1.9.

Community wasn’t the only show with news last night. ABC’s Scandal, that wild political soap on Adderall, rose to match its series high. Check out Mark Harris’ spot-on essay where he calls it TV’s “most ridiculous, chaotic bat#@!*-crazy show.” Grey’s Anatomy was up 11 percent too.

The rest: The Office was flat. 1600 Penn dropped 15 percent. Do No Harm slid 22 percent from last week’s historic (in a bad way) debut. On CBS, Big Bang Theory was up 13 percent (that number may look like a season high, but it’s not, which speaks to how insanely well this comedy is performing this season). Men was up 5 percent, POI was steady and Elementary was up 5 percent. Fox’s American Idol was down 9 percent while Glee was up 5 percent. The CW’s Vampire Diaries fell 15 percent and Beauty was down 14 percent.


'Community': New producers give you character teases for season 4, talk Chevy Chase and finale

“October 19th” has finally arrived.  After the ouster of creator Dan Harmonthe hiring of new showrunners a 16-week delay, a change in scheduling from Friday back to home on Thursday, and news of a star’s departure, Community returns for its fourth (and possibly-but-also-maybe-not-final) season tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC. As you can imagine, the new guys in charge, executive producers Moses Port and David Guarascio (Aliens in America, Just Shoot Me), are a wee bit antsy to finally kick off the year after this extended hiatus. “Given all the change with the show, meaning us coming aboard, it would’ve been nice to be airing episodes while we’re making them, to cross that threshold of, ‘Hey, world, here it is, take it or leave it, whatever you think!'” says Guarascio. “There is so much anxiety about how people will react to it, because we’re all so invested in getting everyone to embrace the show. On the other hand, we feel like we’re on a night we’d much rather be on….The fact that we’re back on Thursday has also helped increase the anticipation a little bit. It’s why dessert comes at the end of the meal, it’s the anticipation that helps make it so satisfying.” READ FULL STORY

'Community': Watch the new 'epic trailer' for season 4 -- VIDEO

Season 4 of Community is just around the corner, but if you’d love to take just a little peek to see what awaits you right now, you’re in luck. NBC has released a trailer for the long-awaited new season that offers up almost two minutes of clips from several upcoming episodes, including the Feb. 7 premiere and the Halloween episode. Ready yourself for “The Hunger Deans,” a Hunger Games-esque competition run by Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) that includes “35 tests of strength and agility.” Meet “Kevin,” who bears a striking resemblance to a familiar nemesis. Journey to a barber shop, Inspector Spacetime convention, and perhaps weirdest of all, Pierce’s house. Question everything during Magnitude’s search for a new catchphrase (Cactus?), and then ask yourself on Feb. 7: What is the nature of hope? READ FULL STORY

'Community': Watch Jeff's confession in the season 4 premiere -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Was it just us, or did that seem like an unusually long summer break? Anyway, the good news for Community fans is that NBC’s community college-set meta-comedy is finally returning to the schedule a week from tonight – that’s Feb. 7 at 8 p.m., for you specifics lovers – with the season 4 premiere. In the episode, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) concocts a Hunger Games-like competition to determine enrollment in a History of Ice Cream class. In the following clip from the episode, Jeff  (Joel McHale) reveals to the study group why getting into this class is so important to him, and let’s just say his friends are two scoops of not pleased with him. READ FULL STORY

'Community' premiere clip: Welcome to 'The Hunger Deans!' -- VIDEO

A long, long time ago — back when we all thought Community would really return to NBC on Oct. 19, 2012 — EW gave you a first look at the sitcom’s fourth season premiere, which features an elaborate tribute to The Hunger Games. Now NBC has finally released a preview clip from the episode itself, complete with a snarky introduction by Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, and Jim “The Dean” “Also an Oscar Winner, How Weird Is That” Rash.

As the video explains, Greendale is facing a quandary: Too many students have signed up for a class called The History of Ice Cream. The solution? “The Hunger Deans,” a tournament testing strength and agility. Those who win its events will also snag a spot in the ice cream course. (The losers, presumably, will just have to go home and eat ice cream by themselves.) Spoiler alert: The Dean makes an excellent Effie Trinket. Grab a spoon and tune in below:


'Community' could 'absolutely' get 5th season


With all the changes on Community this past year, is the cult fav on its final stretch?

Not necessarily. NBC’s entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt told reporters Sunday that the modestly rated comedy could “absolutely” get a fifth season. “Absolutely,” he said. “We’re always hopeful for a show to continue. And we co-own it. I’d love nothing more than to see it continue.”

Community‘s showrunner Dan Harmon stepped down last year and co-star Chevy Chase is on his way out (Chase will appear in all but two episodes this season). “Actors come and go on a lot of shows and this is a big ensemble,” Greenblatt said of Chase’s exit. “I don’t think that’s going to be a big negative about the future of the show.”

Greenblatt added that fans will see basically the same show during the upcoming fourth season which gets underway next month. “You’re going to see relatively the same show you’ve seen before and I hope that’s a good thing,” he said. “Maybe there’s a little more heart built into it, but we didn’t fundamentally change it.”

The executive was also asked whether Steve Carell might return for a cameo in the series finale of The Office. “I’m hopeful but I don’t think he will. He left in the way that he wanted that character to leave and I think he and [executive producer] Greg Daniels have talked about it. There’s a little Hail Mary pass on a cameo. But I think the decision is he’ll go out without compromising his exit.”

As for the rest of NBC’s executive session, check out the link below.

UPDATE: NBC gets cocky: ‘We don’t have our heads up our asses’ unlike rivals

'Community': Jason Alexander to guest-star

By George, Costanza’s coming to Community! Or at least the actor playing him. Jason Alexander will guest-star in an upcoming episode of the NBC comedy. The network confirmed his appearance on Tuesday, though not with any details of his role. Earlier in the day, the Seinfeld vet tweeted: “Filming a crazy episode of COMMUNITY this week. Can’t say much about it but it’s a fun one.” READ FULL STORY

Best of 2012: Episodes we can't erase from our DVR

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of an episode of television. Maybe it marks a decisive turning point for a series you love. Maybe it makes you laugh uproariously (or cry shamelessly) every time you watch it. Maybe it’s just plain cool. Below are the five episodes or television we just couldn’t delete from our DVR’s memory banks months after they first aired.

5. Daniel Radcliffe, Watch What Happens Live
When we need to remind ourselves that stars can still be candid, we revisit this February chat where the always entertaining Radcliffe outdid himself telling Andy Cohen about his creepiest stalker and losing his virginity (“Yes, it was Maggie [Smith],” he joked. “She was gentle”), and showcasing his special skills (rotating his arms 360 degrees, contorting his tongue, and naming the periodic table of elements).


Chevy Chase exiting 'Community'

Community will be losing a cast member, and it’s… the one that you were thinking: Chevy Chase. The 69-year-old actor, who stars as the wealthy, blundering and bigoted Pierce Hawthorne, is exiting the NBC ensemble comedy by mutual agreement, sources close to the show confirm. (Deadline first reported the news.)

It’s not exactly shocking news, as Chase has endured a rocky relationship with the series that he does not always speak warmly about. He engaged in a feud with series creator Dan Harmon that went public last year over an expletive-laced voicemail message that Chase left Harmon. (Harmon was dismissed from the show last spring.) Last month, production was interrupted when Chase, reportedly unhappy with the material he was shooting, used the N-word in an outburst while trying to make a point about the direction of his racist character. READ FULL STORY

'Community': Season 4 gets premiere date

The timeline just brightened: NBC has finally announced the premiere date for the fourth season of Community, and it is… Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. READ FULL STORY

Adult Swim orders full season of Dan Harmon's animated series

Community creator Dan Harmon is returning to TV: Adult Swim has given a 10-episode order to his animated series Rick and Morty, which revolves around the exploits of a gifted inventor and his not-so-gifted grandson. Harmon — the former Community showrunner who is also developing sitcoms at CBS and Fox — created the show with Justin Roiland (Disney Channel’s Fish Hooks). READ FULL STORY

Chevy Chase uses n-word on set of 'Community' while protesting character's racism

Chevy Chase plays a bigot on NBC’s cult fave sitcom Community, and he doesn’t think it’s very funny. Especially right now.

Production on the show’s fourth season was interrupted on Friday after the star lost his temper over material he found objectionable. Chase’s character, Pierce Hawthorne, is prone to saying outrageously insensitive statements. According to sources familiar with the situation, the actor has become increasingly uncomfortable with how Pierce expresses his unique brand of racism, and this frustration boiled over on Friday during an outburst in which Chase said the n-word while making a point about what Pierce might be asked to say next.

The incident was first reported by

It remains unclear how producers will address the matter. NBC and Sony, which produces the sitcom, have yet to issue comments.

This is not the first time Chase has had creative issues with Community’s creative direction. Tension between the actor and Community’s creator and ousted showrunner Dan Harmon turned ugly last year. In a recent interview with EW, Community’s new exec producers David Guarascio and Moses Port said they had a good working relationship with Chase.

The premiere date for the fourth season of Community remains to be determined.


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