Love ‘Community’? Don’t expect to see more shows like it on NBC

Crystal stars as Rizzo and Justin Kirk as Dr. George Coleman on "Animal Practice," NBC's attempt at appealing to a broader audience.

Can a monkey save NBC?

The network that routinely finishes last in ratings among the big four broadcast companies is in a state of transition, most obviously seen in its approach to comedy this fall. Where NBC has been a haven for critically loved, cult-hit sitcoms that don’t draw massive amounts of viewers, the network is now introducing comedies starring a lab-coat wearing monkey (“Animal Practice”) and babies raised by clueless, yet caring, dads (“Guys with Kids”).

“We’re going to transition with our comedy programming and … try to broaden the audience and broaden what the network does,” Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, told journalists gathered at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday. “Those Thursday comedies, which the critics love and we love, tend to be a bit more narrow than we’d ultimately like as we go forward.”

Greenblatt was referring to shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock,” and more specifically, “Community,” which featured an entire episode that played out in the style of an 8-bit video game last season. Though all three were renewed for next season, as of late “Community” has received little love from NBC, which fired the show’s creator, ordered only 13 episodes, and pushed the show back to Fridays.

“The reason that we did 13 episodes of that and a couple of our other shows is because we really wanted to get more comedies on the schedule … which isn’t to say we couldn’t decide at some point to extend those seasons,” Greenblatt said. “I would love nothing more than ‘Community’ to have a following on Friday and to be able to continue it.”

NBC offering even that amount of support to a similarly quirky new series doesn’t appear likely. He called those creatively robust, yet ill-performing sitcoms “a little bit more sophisticated than I think you might want for a real broad audience.”

And what says “mass appeal” better than animals and babies?

“We didn’t’ sit down and say, ‘Let’s find some shows with babies and animals everywhere,” but we did buy into visions from creators that we felt were funny, specific, emotional and original,” said Jennifer Salke, NBC President of Entertainment.

Salke said NBC “wanted forever” to line up a series like “Animal Practice” that prominently featured furry friends in the storyline. Yet at the same time, she added, “you don’t need big hi-jinks” to make a broad comedy work.

NBC may actually be onto something: Later in the day, during a party held for critics by the network, the most popular, most photographed celebrity of the evening was Crystal — the capuchin monkey star of “Animal Practice.”


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

'Barack Obama cheats on Michelle' claims Japanese politician…

A senior Japanese politician has marred Barack Obama's official visit to Tokyo with bizarre claims that the President cheats on his wife Michelle. Kazuyuki Hamada,…

International

British Royal family devastated by freak NY death…

The British royals have been left devastated by the death of Mark Shand, younger brother of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after a freak fall in…

Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 9

It was only an hour-long episode, but there's a lot to cover this week. The drama of Survivor strikes again as the identity of the…

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox top Yankees, 5-1

John Lackey shines, Pineda ejected in Red Sox win

NHL

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston…

Bruins - Red Wings Game 4 preview: Boston greedy for more dominance

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."