Quick, someone make a chart — has “Community” experienced the most amount of drama for a TV show with the fewest number of viewers?
Even without statistical analysis we’re going to go ahead and say “yes.” For a low-rated series that was a surprise to survive its first few seasons on NBC and later had many well-publicized issues with its creator, the cult-favorite comedy has somehow managed to cling to life yet again. Yahoo confirmed on Monday that it has picked up the show for a sixth season, following its cancellation by NBC this spring, the network on which the show aired since its 2009 premiere.
That’s right — creator Dan Harmon, star Joel McHale and the rest of the wacky community college gang will return this fall for 13 new episodes that will stream on the site. Though the digital company has already produced some Web series, CEO Marissa Meyer has reportedly been looking to delve into more original programming, hosting streaming shows similar to offerings currently available on Netflix and Amazon.
“Yahoo is all about connecting the best creators to the audiences who love their work,” Yahoo CMO Kathy Savitt said in a statement. “’Community’ has an incredibly passionate and loyal fan base who have fought hard to keep this amazing show alive.”
Oh, yes, they have. The critically-beloved show has been in danger of being canceled since its inception, and really only got renewed time and again because NBC didn’t have many other comedy options. Every year, diehard fans would lobby for more episodes, often with the special hashtag #SixSeasonsandaMovie.
Then, there was complete chaos when Harmon, the eccentric creator and showrunner, departed the series amid multiple disputes with the network after the third season. The story got even stranger when he returned for Season 5, after the Harmon-less season turned out to be a dud. That’s not to mention all of the issues surrounding the cast when Chevy Chase was still around — he wound up leaving the show a couple years ago.
But none of it matters now, because that’s the power of a cult favorite comedy in 2014 — with the groundswell of the Internet fandom, nontraditional TV companies feel it’s a worthwhile risk to take on previously-canceled shows. (Just look at Netflix with “Arrested Development” and “The Killing.”)
“I am very pleased that ‘Community’ will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo,” Harmon said in the announcement. “I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online.”