NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt addressed the state of cult favorite "Community" at the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour on Tuesday, swearing the network hopes the re-tooled show will thrive with new showrunners in a new Friday night timeslot.
"I would love nothing more than 'Community' to have a following on Friday and be able to continue it," Greenblatt told the assembled critics and journalists.
Greenblatt explained that the network's decision to fire creator Dan Harmon was an effort to "freshen the show," and tried to assure fans of "Community" that the show wouldn't be drastically different than season's past.
"I think fans of 'Community' are going to get the same show they have loved from the beginning. Every so often, it's time to make a change with a showrunner," he said. "You evaluate creatively how the show is run, how the writing staff is working. Sometimes you want to freshen the show. We just decided it was time to do that to 'Community,' no disrespect to anyone."
He seemed to place the moves within the network's broader strategy of "trying to broaden" the appeal of "these Thursday night comedies which critics love."
"I think we're in a transition with our comedy programming, we're trying to broaden our audience and broaden what the network does," Greenblatt explained. "These Thursday comedies which critics love and we love tend to be more narrow than we'd like. We'd ultimately like as we go forward -- 'Community' is a show that was always on the bubble. We decided to bring it back again and see what a fourth season will do for us."
Greenblatt also stated that the reason NBC brought "Community" and "30 Rock" back for 13-episode orders was because they wanted to put more comedies on the air, and didn't discount the possibility that some shows could get their episode orders increased in the future.