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
Local

NYPD arrest man after finding body inside plastic…

Police said they found a man stuffed inside a plastic container in a Brooklyn home. Authorities arrested Joshua Simser, 24, in connection to the death

Local

Queens pub offers 'Munchathon' 4/20 menu

New York doesn't permit recreational marijuana usage — at least not yet — but that hasn't stopped one Queens bar from getting into the spirit…

Local

Borough prez Eric Adams defends Brooklyn's honor after…

"F--k Brooklyn," shouted Toronto Raptors' general manager Masai Ujiri shortly before facing the Brooklyn Nets at Saturday's playoff game.

Local

Annual Green Festival to take root in NYC

With the arrival of Earth Week, some 200 local participating companies, vendors and nonprofits are gearing up for New York City's annual Green Festival, set…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

The Word

Miley Cyrus cancels more dates, tweeting from hospital

Miley Cyrus is reportedly so sick that she's had to postpone more tour dates. We know this because she has been sitting in a hospital…

Music

Loop are, er, um, back in the loop

Experimental noise rock band Loop's three mid-1980s to early-1990s albums, “Heavens End,” “Fade Out” and “A Gilded Eternity,” were mercifully reissued.

Television

'Orphan Black' recap: Episode 1, ‘Nature Under Constraint…

Welcome to your first Season 2 “Orphan Black” recap! Hopefully Tatiana Maslany can help Tatiana Maslany get through this, with the help of Tatiana Maslany,…

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

NBA

Deron Williams leads Nets over Raptors in Game…

The Nets traveled to a raucous Air Canada Centre but came out with an important Game 1 victory over the Raptors.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony agonizing over Knicks future as season…

There’s still the cloud hanging over the franchise’s head as to the pending free-agent status of All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony.

NFL

Jets host players with eye toward NFL Draft

The Jets hosted a number of NFL Draft hopefuls for workouts on Thursday, with an eye toward some under-the-radar players.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.