The fact that Community is nowhere to be found in the NBC mid-season schedule has fans understandably freaked out.
The show's terrible ratings so far in the 2011-12 season cannot have helped with the anxiety levels.
However, with three full seasons ordered (NBC currently maintains that Community will return at some point later in the season), my assumption has always been that Sony (the show's producer) would give the show away to get enough episodes produced for syndication (88 episodes would do it).
Now that the show will be off the schedule, at least temporarily, I think that the renewal of Community for season four will require a 'Til Death style miracle renewal.
What was 'Til Death you say? It was a little lamented Sony comedy that aired on Fox, sporadically, through 81 episodes.
Here is the miraculous tale of Sony's 'Til Death season four renewal.
- After a weak sophomore season in 2007-8, 'Til Death was renewed for a third season in 2008-9 during which its terrible ratings caused it to be pulled from Fox's schedule in early October, never to return that season.
- Amazingly, it was renewed yet again for a fourth season in 2009-10, almost certainly because Sony gave it away to generate episodes for syndication (I don't recall commenters crying "Fox executives love it!" or "It has great DVR numbers!"), and during 2009-10 it aired at somewhat random times (and in somewhat random episode order) during the year (but rarely during sweeps!) bleeding into summer 2010 after which it failed to rise from the dead yet again (81 episodes in the can).