The network is struggling to make up ratings and it looks like the strategy of renewing cult favorites isn't working out for them.
NBC has announced those shows it’ll bless with early renewal – including brand new dramas Chicago Fire and Revolution – but some tried and true NBC standbys like Community and Hannibal are still hanging in mid air. That’s because these types of cult shows – while always a success with their core audiences – don’t exactly pull in record numbers of viewers.
Hannibal for example, which details the exploits of everyone’s favorite cannibalistic sociopath, Hannibal Lector, gained early favor with both viewers and critics, but has since slipped on both counts. The network might decide to give the series a shot because there is certainly a lot of potential for future seasons there, but with numbers like last night’s record low of 2.4 million (according to Zap2It) it is easy to see why execs aren’t tripping over their feet to renew the show. We know the genre has potential – look at Dexter’s eight season run. The writers for Hannibal just need to figure out that missing je ne sais quoi.
Then there’s Community. Ah, what do we even say about Community? Much loved by its (hard)core fans, the series has been on air for two whole seasons after unprecedented amounts of audience support prompted NBC to bring it back from an abrupt cancellation. However, after recent events (read: creator Dan Harmon’s booting off the writing team), everyone’s become a bit disillusioned with the quirky and at times plain weird charm of the show. Still, there is a chance: namely, that after the cancellation of shows like 30 Rock, NBC will need something to fill that conspicuously empty comedy slot on its roster. Hey, NBC, look, it’s Community! That’s a comedy! You should renew that one. It’s a familiar one too, and the network is probably aware that it’s not a good idea to have all new comedy series in November. Yes, it would be a victory by default, if Community returns, but a victory none the less.
Community's Joel McHale and Gillian Jacobs, pictured here at the 27th annual Paley fest.