Vulture readers won’t be surprised by this news: As we predicted last month, NBC has decided to delay (and possibly reverse) its decision to move Community and Whitney to Fridays. Both shows had been set to move to the night on October 19. But the network now confirms that won’t happen. Officially, NBC isn’t discussing the reason behind the move or announcing when either show will finally return. But insiders say it simply came down to marketing resources: The Peacock has been so busy hyping its other new shows (including successes such as Revolution and Go On), it hasn’t had time to pump the Friday comedies. Debuting the shows on the night now would basically be giving up on them completely. Of course, there were many who thought that’s exactly why NBC was shifting the shows to Fridays in the first place. But now that the fall season is underway, the Peacock’s programmers have more intel and came to the conclusion that it made sense to wait. So what happens next?
We’re just spitballing here, but it seems possible NBC might decide to see how Animal Practice and Up All Night do in the next few weeks. The former show has flatlined on Wednesdays, and if that continues, NBC might be smart to replace it with Whitney, thus creating a multi-cam comedy block on Wednesdays. Likewise, though Up All Night has done okay (relative to the also-struggling 30 Rock and Parks and Rec, that is), NBC might choose to … yes, bring Community back to Thursday nights after all, where it might prove a better fit with either Parks or 30 Rock. Don’t get too excited: This is just a theory, based partially in common sense and partially in … positive thinking. Because, let’s face it, it’s also possible that NBC just gives up and decides to keep the shows on Friday, but waits until later in the year when it can give them a tad more promotion. We don’t know. But we’re hoping that tonight’s move might actually end up meaning good things for Community (and Whitney).
UPDATE, 9:30 p.m.: NBC just put out the following statement to explain its decision. “Given the success we’ve had for the past four weeks – including winning the first week of the season in A18-49 – we’ve decided to continue to concentrate our promotional strength on our new NBC shows that are scheduled Monday through Wednesday and have therefore decided to hold Community and Whitney from their previously announced premieres of October 19th,” the network said. “Without having to launch these comedies on Friday at this time, we can keep our promotion focused on earlier in the week — plus we will have both comedies in our back pocket if we need to make any schedule changes on those nights. When we have a better idea of viewing patterns in the next few weeks, we will announce new season premieres of Whitney and Community.”