The notion of success on NBC isn't so much quantified by ratings as it is buzz and acclaim at this point. If it were, Parks and Recreation and Community would be veering toward cancellation after averaging around three million viewers per episode, not renewal on a network with few other viable options. That's not an ideal situation for the network, but for fans of the shows there's only good news to be heard as NBC President Bob Greenblatt said that a sixth season for Community is a "strong possibility" while saying that Parks and Recreation "is going to have a seventh season."
We should mention that none of this is official. For Community, the show could crater creatively following the departure of Donald Glover, turning critics, dragging down ratings, and depressing the show's fiercely loyal fanbase. For Parks and Recreation, though, it seems like there are only Is to dot and Ts to cross. The real question is: Will the show return intact?
Season 6 of Parks and Recreation has already been one of transition with Leslie's (Amy Poehler) exit from City Council, Chris Pratt's significant absence from the show and Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones' coming departure.
While the exits of Chris and Anne will surely be felt, producers have organically increased the focus on Leslie's relationship with Ben (Adam Scott) over the years while also ramping up her mentorship of April (Aubrey Plaza), negating Anne's place in the series similar to the way Paul Schneider's Mark Brendanawicz was, albeit with a bit more flare and a happier wrap-up.
Unlike Lowe and Jones, there has been no talk about Chris Pratt's full exit from the series, but his career trajectory has us wondering.
Parks and Recreation has been a fortunate launching pad for its cast. Poehler just won a Golden Globe for her work on the show while she, Scott, Plaza, Aziz Ansari, and Nick Offerman have done a fair amount of film work on the side. But no cast member has broken out like Pratt, who nabbed supporting roles in Moneyball and Zero Dark Thirty before earning the lead in Guardians of the Galaxy - which led to his absence during the first half of this season.
Now, Pratt is rumored to be in talks for the lead in Jurassic World, another big-budget film that could potentially pull him away from the show. Would he do both again, fighting off dinosaurs while also playing the lovable oaf and romantic counter to Plaza's April?
For the sake of the show, we hope the answer is yes since that dumb-puppy-dog-love based relationship is one of the show's consistent bright spots, but as Parks and Recreation now looks to cross into season 7, departures, transitions, and maybe even new additions are a part of the challenge of keeping the show fresh and relevant. That's a challenge that the Mike Schur and Greg Daniels are surely eager to embrace, though, especially since it sure beats the alternative.
Parks and Recreation airs Thursday nights on NBC @8:30pm.