Less than two weeks before both comedies were scheduled to debut in their new Friday timeslots, NBC has announced that it is postponing the season premieres of Community and Whitney until further notice.
Back in May, the Peacock stated its ill-advised plans to build a new Friday night comedy block featuring Community and Whitney back-to-back in the 8:00 pm hour, beginning October 19. Since then, many observers have questioned this strategy considering that both shows appeal to a younger-skewing audience that isn't watching television on Friday evenings.
That decision was made before the arrival of Jeff Bader as NBC's new head of scheduling in August, so this most recent announcement actually signifies good news. In its statement, NBC indicates that both series may be relocated to higher-profile timeslots on another night, possibly as replacements for Guys With Kids and Animal Practice, two new comedies that have struggled on Wednesday nights so far.
The network's statement reads, "Given the success we've had for the past four weeks – including winning the first week of the season in A18-49 – we've decided to continue to concentrate our promotional strength on our new NBC shows that are scheduled Monday through Wednesday and have therefore decided to hold Community and Whitney from their previously announced premieres of October 19th. Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week — plus we will have both comedies in our back pocket if we need to make any schedule changes on those nights. When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of Whitney and Community."
For the time being, encore presentations of supernatural drama Grimm will replace the comedies on Friday nights.
While I wouldn't mind if Whitney never found its way back onto the schedule, this decision could breathe new life into Community. Entering its fourth season and the first without series creator Dan Harmon at the helm, Community was presumed dead on arrival once it was consigned to the Friday death slot. Now, it's possible that Community could find itself a new audience if it is moved to another night.
Does this announcement make you more optimistic about the future of Community and/or Whitney?