Community just refuses to die.
Now revived by Yahoo, the comedy has had a cult following since its very first episode and fought off NBC's looming axe on four occasions to reach the five-season mark before the network finally cancelled it.
As soon as that was announced, however, fans turned to Hulu and Netflix (who brought back Arrested Development) for help. Then last night, with only hours left before the cast's contracts expired, Yahoo stepped in to bring a sixth season of the Dan Harmon comedy to our computer screens, though not our televisions.
In an interview with Sony Pictures Television's president of programming and production Zack Van Amburg, The Hollywood Reporter asked about how the show was saved, why Yahoo is a perfect fit and whether the long-championed Community hashtag #SixSeasonsAndAMovie will become a reality.
Van Amburg admitted that talks did indeed take place with Hulu but it was a phone call from Yahoo pitching to them why the pairing makes sense that sold Sony on the idea. "To be honest, we were so far down the path with Hulu that, hopefully not arrogant but [we were], maybe a little bit dismissive of their overture, which made them that much more committed to explaining to us and to Joel McHale and Dan Harmon why this was going to be a cornerstone of the new Yahoo that they're about to unveil to the world.
"They really want to be close to their users and viewers and wanted it to be a safe destination for creators. It was an excellent and articulate speech."
Asked about finding an audience online as opposed to on television, Van Amburg said he was less worried. "The show has a rabid fan base that I think will come to it no matter where it is. More importantly, we have a younger, very savvy audience that understands shows exist in alternative places. There will be strong online appeal. There's going to be a groundswell of support.
"The Yahoo people said something very interesting," he added. "They're looking to create shows and content for people that didn't know that that's what they wanted. Meaning they're very encouraging on the fact that strong word-of-mouth and good buzz is going to bring an audience. But they also believe they have a real plan to introduce Community to a whole new audience that may not have heard of it yet."
The show's episode-by-episode budget will also not be effected by the switch to online, confirmed Van Amburg who added that they are planning for the entire cast to return. "We have a separate deal both with Joel McHale and Jim Rash; we've been having lots of conversations with them and Joel has been fantastic.
"The hope is that the whole cast is coming back."
Community season six will air later this year on Yahoo Screen.