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On May 9, NBC shocked many with the announcement that it would cancel cult favorite Community after five seasons, ending the show’s long-running joke of making it to “six seasons and a movie.” Though the show had come close to cancellation many times before, fans had rallied to save it from the chopping block. However, even though the show will no longer air on television, there is still hope for it to live on digitally.
Hulu, the streaming service owned by NBC, Fox, and ABC, already has the digital rights to Community and streams episodes of the show on its website. Though Hulu provides free episodes of currently airing series, it also offers a subscription service similar to Netflix, Hulu Plus, that allows users to access more television shows and movies as well as content exclusively available on Hulu.
Unlike Netflix shows such as House of Cards, Hulu’s original content has never taken off or received much critical acclaim. Adding Community to its lineup would be a game-changing move for Hulu, bringing an air of legitimacy and laudability to the online network. Netflix has already proved that reviving shows can work with its production of the fourth season of Arrested Development, another great comedy cancelled too soon. The main production issue Arrested Development’s new season faced was the cast’s commitment to other projects after years away from the show. Community doesn’t have that problem – its stars are less in demand and the sooner Hulu picks up the show, the easier it will be to ensure that the whole cast can stay on board.
Picking up Community also has major marketing benefits: The show’s loyal fans will follow it to a new home, in turn increasing revenue from Hulu Plus subscriptions and advertising. Though it may not have the biggest audience, Community has fans who have invested their time and energy into watching the show and keeping it alive. That loyalty is a valuable commodity – it is the knowledge that people will keep coming back for more. Saving Community is a great PR move, too: Hulu’s rescue of the show would generate as much social media buzz as its cancellation did, if not more. It’s harder and harder to grab consumers’ attention online, but this is a surefire way to improve business and draw people to Hulu Plus.
So there you have it, citizens of Greendale. There is a chance that Community could be saved, that the dream of six seasons and a movie will live once more. But if this truly is the end of the road for this show, remember that it fought valiantly to stay on air through its entire existence, and that five seasons, though never the plan, is still a pretty good run.