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

MTA announces service changes for Sunday

The MTA has announced service changes ahead of Sunday's People's Climate March, which will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Riders using…

Local

NYPD launches Twitter account for L train

The NYPD recently launched a Twitter handle dedicated to the L train and its riders. According to @NYPDLtrain, officers went underground Thursday morning to hand…

Local

Bushwick community space offers activists a place to…

A new Bushwick community space offers community activists to meet, create, learn and throw back a few cold ones. MayDay, located 214 Starr Street in Bushwick,…

Local

Activists gearing up for Sunday's "historic" People's Climate…

If all goes according to plan, more than 100,000 people will gather near Central Park West on Sunday morning and march through midtown to raise…

Movies

Kevin Smith makes peace with the Internet

I was thinking about Ain't It Cool News and Harry Knowles last night, wondering if anyone from Ain't It Cool had reviewed my new movie…

Movies

Art imitates life in 'Swim Little Fish Swim'

There's a certain comfort to be taken in finding that young artists are still moving to New York and trying to make it — and…

Movies

Review: Terry Gilliam's 'The Zero Theorem' is better…

Terry Gilliam's latest, "The Zero Theorem," concerns a reclusive malcontent (Christoph Waltz) struggling with the search for the meaning of life.

Music

Esperanza Spalding and a being called Emily get…

Esperanza Spalding is about to spiral off in a brand new direction that may or may include an alter ego named Emily.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

MLB

Derek Jeter still focused on baseball as final…

Derek Jeter has effectively hid his emotions for 20 years in the Bronx.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.

Style

3 things we love from Day 1 of…

The highlights from Day 1 of Milan Fashion Week.

Sex

Why don't more couples use condoms?

  Call it the “condom moment.” That’s the name the authors of a new study have given to the pivotal conversation every couple should be…

Sex

Need an idea for a first date? Here's…

Picture your idea of a nice first date. Is it dinner and a movie? A visit to an interesting museum exhibit? Instead, an expert on…