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TV Trade News Round-Up: But Only "Arrested Development" Is A Somewhat Suitable Salve For That Open "Community" Wound

By Rob Payne | Industry | November 21, 2011 |

By Rob Payne | Industry | November 21, 2011 |

Some pieces of news concerning a few beloved TV shows, and one still in the Pilot Shooting Stage, dropped over the course of the weekend and the last week. Some bits fell through the cracks, some were only just announced, and in either case they’re all worth a look — even if NBC continues to leave us in the relative darkness of a powered off television set over the fate of “Community.”

“Survivor” renewed through 2013, “South Park” through 2016. Last week, CBS and Comedy Central agreed to commit to two and three more seasons, respectively, of these TV stalwarts. Despite starting a new talk show this summer, Jeff Probst will continue to host the reality show competition through seasons 25 and 26 (season 23 is airing now, with 24 scheduled to premiere in February). Hopefully the next two cycles will forgo the “Redemption Island” twist and get back to basics, like eating insect larvae and blurring out the female contestants’ during certain Immunity challenges. “South Park” was previously renewed this summer up through 2013, but is now committed to reach season 20 in 2016, which will put in the same rarefied air as “The Simpsons.” And like that other long-lived animated sitcom, questions of its necessity will arise soon enough, if they haven’t already. But unlike “The Simpsons,” “South Park” could feasibly mine for topical laughs for many more years to come.

“Cougar Town” returning in March 2012 with seven fewer episodes. Apparently in an unholy alliance with NBC, ABC has decided that benching the Bill Lawrence created, Courtney Cox starring, Abed loving sitcom until mid-season wasn’t enough: when the series returns in March, rather than January/February with the rest of their Spring line-up, “Cougarton Abbey” “Cougar Town” will only shoot 15 episodes for the season, instead of its standard 22. That’s fairly common practice, however, for a series without the network’s full support. Admittedly, this show has never been a favorite of mine, though I loved Lawrence’s “Scrubs,” but since there is a mutual admiration society between this show and “Community,” this strikes me as evidence of good karma toward the latter. Fingers crossed.

“Powers” Pilot being re-tooled by FX. I’ve written before about my own misgivings (Jason Patric), and excitement (the T-Mobile Girl), for FX’s adaptation of the award winning comic book Powers, and it looks like I was right on both accounts. In general, if not in specifics. While FX has declined to pick up one new Pilot they shot (“Outlaw Country”), they’re giving “Powers” another shot to make it to broadcast by rebooting and re-shooting it entirely. Whether this means they’ll be recasting or merely rewriting, or even if it means the basic concept of the show will change (perhaps becoming more procedural and less serial?), is still unknown. But comic co-creator Brian Michael Bendis has tweeted that:

“network spending more $$ on powers is good. they did the same to the sons of anarchy pilot. fx sees pilots diff then reg networks. a lot of pilots go through this. but they aren’t based on anything so you never hear about it. the network convos this week have been great.”

“Arrested Development” is definitely coming back to… Netflix? That question mark is meant to signify mild confusion, not a lack of facts. While still in the rumor stage, technically, the AV Club has confirmed (via Twitter, so grain of salt and all) Variety’s report that the creators of “Arrested Development” (Mitch Hurwitz, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard) have agreed to a deal with the Internet’s biggest video rental and streaming service to make brand spanking new episodes. This will mark Netflix’s second originally produced content (the first being David Fincher’s/Kevin Spacey’s upcoming “House of Cards”), and their first piece of unquestionably good news in… What, a year? Which is about how long we still have to wait to finally catch up with the Bluth clan, as new episodes won’t start streaming until some time in 2013. No word, still, on the movie, but this is definitely the fist sign of real progress in that regard.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had “Community” until the return of “Arrested Development” and we had that until the debut of Arrested Development: The Movie? That would clearly indicate our escape from the darkest timeline.

Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force and tweets on the [email protected]RobOfWar. He might watch and enjoy nearly all of these shows, but none of them can really settle his chronic “Community” anxiety like he wished they could.

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