NBC Head Bob Greenblatt Talks ‘Community’ Season 5; Passing on ‘Mockingbird Lane’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated January 23rd, 2013 at 6:45 am,

community musical cast NBC Head Bob Greenblatt Talks Community Season 5; Passing on Mockingbird Lane

Things are in flux over at NBC, what with the network abandoning “narrow” and “sophisticated” comedy in order to keep up with the competition’s mainstream ratings-leaders (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory). However, that news has left Community fans wondering if that means the ongoing saga of Greendale Community College and its peculiar students/staff is heading to the chopping block (… again).

NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has publicly addressed the likelihood of Community Season 5, following the show’s fourth season this year. He also spoke about what led to the decision to pass on Bryan Fuller’s Munsters TV series reboot Mockingbird Lane, despite a decent showing for its pilot (which aired as a Halloween special last year).

Several shows were represented at last week’s Television Critics Association press tour, including new arrivals such as A&E’s Psycho spinoff Bates Motel and long-running series that are winding down to a close this year (e.g. The Office). During the event, Greenblatt received questions about NBC productions where the future is more up in the air; or, rather, non-existent in Mockingbird Lane‘s case.

Here’s what Greenblatt had to offer about Community Season 4 (via Deadline):

“I think you’ll see relatively the same show that you did before, maybe with a little bit more heart built into it. But we didn’t fundamentally change it… We’re absolutely hopeful it will lead to a fifth season. I’d love nothing more than to see it continue.”

David Guarascio and Moses Port (Just Shoot Me) are assuming showrunner duties from Community creator Dan Harmon on Season 4, leaving many members of the loyal fanbase concerned; even after Harmon’s third season was ambitious, but (admittedly) something of a mixed bag. The new show heads aren’t taking steps to move away from the increasing reliance on “theme” and homage episodes in recent seasons, but it remains to be seen whether that’s a good or bad thing.

chevy chase leaves community NBC Head Bob Greenblatt Talks Community Season 5; Passing on Mockingbird Lane

Greenblatt also touched on Chevy Chase’s departure from the show (via EW):

“Actors come and go on a lot of shows and this is a big ensemble. I don’t think that’s going to be a big negative about the future of the show.”

To be frank: Chase leaving the series was not only predictable, it almost seems necessary following season three (where his character’s role was heavily reduced). It had reached a point where Pierce’s antics were amounting to little more than a distraction from the overarching storyline; not to mention, reports that Greendale’s (second) oldest student actually regresses back to his old prejudiced ways in season 4 are less-than-encouraging.

As for Mockingbird Lane, Greenblatt said:

“We just decided that it didn’t hold together well enough to yield a series. It looked beautiful and original and creative, but it just all ultimately didn’t come together…, it just didn’t ultimately creatively all work.”

Similar issues were raised in Screen Rant‘s Mockingbird Lane pilot review; to quote our Kevin Yeoman, “[it] feels like Fuller is holding something back.” There was certainly room for improvement down the line, but it also sounds as though the show deemed too much of a niche product (which, as mentioned before, NBC is consciously moving away from).

mockingbird lane bryan fuller1 NBC Head Bob Greenblatt Talks Community Season 5; Passing on Mockingbird Lane

Greenblatt went on to sing praises for the Mockingbird Lane cast:

“We felt great about [Jerry O’Connell as family patriarch Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as his wife Lily, Eddie Izzard as Grandpa, and Charity Wakefield as cousin Marilyn]. But we tried to make it not just a sitcom. We tried to make it an hour, which ultimately has more dramatic weight than a half-hour. It’s hard to calibrate how much weirdness vs. supernatural vs. family story. I just think we didn’t get the mix right.”

Lastly, the NBC head refused to deny the possibility that The Munsters could get another re-imagining somewhere down the line. However, taking everything into consideration, another reboot would take on the form of a more conventional small screen examination of modern American living through the experiences of its most ghoulish citizens. So don’t expect Fuller’s darkly whimsical vision to be resurrected, should that happen (no pun intended).


Community returns to the airwaves on Thursday, February 7th at 8/7c on NBC.

Source: Deadline, EW

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
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  1. imo community is one of the best shows on tv. however, after the postponement of the 4th season till this february and the departure of show-runner dan harmon and regular cast member chevy chase I fear for the future of the series. season 3 was a “mixed bag” for some, but for community’s hard core fan base (I being part of that fan base) it was incredible.

    • ok what I meant to say is that the show is doomed to failure because it only caters to its small fanbase and doesn’t branch out. Its a shame because if you watch it from season 1 the show is really great. maybe once its canceled the show will finally get some recognition like the postmortem popularity of arrested and firefly.

  2. I highly doubt Community is getting a fifth season. As much as I love the show, NBC just doesn’t seem to feel the same and these next thirteen episodes will be the last. It’s a shame really, Community is one of the few best written shows on tv.

  3. Technically, Leonard is Greendale’s oldest student, =). Can’t wait for the return, but I’m still not holding my breath for season five. I chalk this up more to hot air from the network executive. I hope this season is fantastic though.

    • I only buy potato chips that Leonard approves of.

    • Ha, good point.

      I changed that bit accordingly.

    • I think you’re forgetting about Harry Jefferson

      • and Richard from the hipsters

  4. I love Community but without Chevy I see the future as going downhill which is a shame because the show really has the potential to go for a long time. Maybe NBC’s plan is to ruin a show and replace it with more reality garbage.

  5. 6 seasons and a movie!!!!!!

  6. I am still hopeful for our beloved Community! I was sad about Harmon’s departure…he is a brilliant man to create such a smart sitcom. I do fear NBC is going down the “reality tv” crap drain & if Community doesn’t get at LEAST it’s 5th season I will be heartbroken! (Especially since it’s rumored season 4 will be ending with cliffhangers for multiple characters) With that said I remain hopeful for 6 seasons & a movie!

  7. Community > The Big Bang Theory

    • Everything > The Big Bang Theory

  8. OMG! Community is the best show on right now, and so what if a few characters are changed, all TV shows are supposed to be subject to change in it’s time.

  9. The first pilot for Star Trek was a dud, but they went back and tried again. Why didn’t they do the same for Mockingbird Lane?