NBC has put Parks and Recreation on hiatus. Is this the latest clue that this is the comedy’s last season?
The sad truth for many NBC comedies is that despite however popular they may be amongst a small fervent online fanbase, they are always moments away from cancellation. And after some under the radar machinations from the network, it looks like Parks and Recreation‘s time may be finally running out.
NBC has quietly announced that it’s pulling Parks and Rec from its schedule starting this Thursday. This week’s episode, which was to feature the second appearance from Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany, will not air in favor of a The Voice rerun.
Next week’s episode will be replaced by a Saturday Night Live Halloween special and November 7’s episode will be replaced by a live episode of The Voice. The show won’t return until November 14, when it will burn off two episodes a night for two weeks before disappearing from the airwaves again. It’s tentatively scheduled to return again after that on January 9, a week after Community‘s one-hour premiere.
Sound confusing? That’s probably by design. In its sixth season, Parks and Recreation Nielsen ratings are what they are at this point. It’s a small but devoted audience that is likely willing to follow the show around the schedule wherever it may go but not a big enough audience to ultimately save the show for a seventh season.
With 30 Rock and The Office (which weren’t necessarily ratings bonanzas to begin with) NBC looks to be preparing for a completely fresh start with broader comedies, headlined by bigger names like Michael J. Fox and Sean Hayes.
Parks and Recreation is no stranger to doomsday scenarios either. Last season’s mid-season finale featuring Leslie’s wedding was initially conceived as a series finale before NBC caved and ordered more episodes. But this marks the first time Parks has been so abruptly pulled from the schedule. And with Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones slated to leave the show later this season, the producers may finally know the end is nigh.
This is the most legitimate threat yet to the show’s survival but at least NBC seems committed to finishing off the season, albeit on a “whenever-we-feel-like-it” basis.
Still six seasons is nothing to sneeze at and 30 Rock was able to turn in a creative renaissance when it knew it was dealing with its final season as the Parks and Rec writers likely rightly assumed going into this season. Plus, six years is probably like 36 in miniature horse years. Lil’ Sebastian would be proud.