NBC is close to working out a deal to renew Community for a fifth season, Vulture reports. While nothing's official yet, Vulture says the renewal is "all but a done deal" and "very close," expecting that the network will pick up the show for an order of at least 13 Chevy Chase-less episodes. The decision comes right after the show's season finale, which went up slightly in the ratings last night. The move is kind of an odd one considering that a lot of the show's fanbase hasn't enjoyed the series as much since the firing of showrunner Dan Harmon last year, but if people are watching it, it makes sense for NBC to keep the series on.
The network also canceled its Matthew Perry grieving sportscaster sitcom Go On today. Axing the first season comedy is the latest in a flurry of cancellations by NBC, following the network's decision yesterday to not renew four other low-rated sitcoms: Whitney, Up All Night, 1600 Penn, and Guys with Kids. Parks and Recreation, so far, is the only comedy to be renewed, while official decisions on Community and low-rated freshman comedy The New Normal have yet to be announced.
NBC abandoning all of its broader shows and sticking with critical darlings like Parks and Rec and Community (the latter used to be a critical darling) comes as a bit of a surprise following network boss Bob Greenblatt's choice last year to focus on developing louder, more conventional comedies and straying away from stuff like Community and Parks and Rec. "Those Thursday comedies, which the critics love and we love, tend to be a bit more narrow than we ultimately like as we go forward," Greenblatt told the press. He also said, "They tend to be a little more narrow, a little more sophisticated than you want for a real broad audience." The low ratings and subsequent cancellations of Go On, Whitney, 1600 Penn, Guys with Kids, and, earlier this season, Animal Practice, signify a complete failure in the network's broad comedy strategy. It should be interesting to see where NBC goes this fall after canceling most of its comedies this week.
UPDATE 8:20PM: And Community's renewal is official.