by Julie Miller
Update, 5/11: NBC tells Vanity Fair that it has renewed Parks and Recreation for a 22-episode season and ordered 13-episode seasons of Community and 30 Rock. The network declined to say whether these would be the final seasons for any of the series.
A trio of devastating television developments today: NBC reportedly plans to raze 75 percent of its beloved Thursday-night comedy lineup. The rumored casualties: 30 Rock, Community, andParks and Recreation—all three of which represent some of the smartest (if only moderately watched) comedic output by any network right now. Instead of canceling the shows outright, the Peacock network will reportedly announce shortened final seasons for each at next week’s annual “upfront” presentation in New York City. The fourth Thursday-night sitcom, The Office, which is in its eight season, is predicted to remain on the air.
The network has already confirmed series orders for six new comedies, including Go On, from NBC alum Matthew Perry; The New Normal, from Ryan Murphy; 1600 Penn, the White House comedy starring Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman; Anne Heche’s Save Me; and Animal Practice, a veterinary-clinic-set sitcom starring Justin Kirk. Judging by NBC’s recent comedy batting average, at least one of these shows should make you laugh.
Next year will mark 30 Rock’s seventh season, the fifth for Parks and Recreation, and the fourth for Community. Earlier this year, 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin, who has won two Emmys for his portrayal of Jack Donaghy, alluded to a near-future exit from the network, when he covertly tweeted, “I think I’m leaving NBC just in time.” To deal with this blow, we defer to a piece of Jack Donaghy’s immortal wisdom: “We all have ways of coping. I use sex and awesomeness.”