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What Does the Full-Season Renewal of "Outsourced" Mean for "Community" and "Parks & Recreation"?

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 19, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | October 19, 2010 |

Our worst fears may be on their way to coming to fruition: Yesterday, in addition to picking up full-season orders of “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” and “The Event,” NBC also ordered a full-season of “Outsourced,” which has had decent ratings this season, thanks largely to its “The Office” lead-in. Now, if “Outsourced,” has a full season order — that’s 24 episodes, I believe — and there are around 38-39 weeks in a season (if you subtract the summer, and the traditional mid-December to early-January reruns), that presumably means that either “Community” or “Parks and Recreation,” if not cancelled, will certainly be trimmed, as “Community,” is the lowest-rated of the Thursday night comedies, though “Parks and Rec” was even lower-rated when it aired last season.

It’s still very possible that they’ll simply mix-and-match throughout the season, and run new episodes of “Parks and Rec” in alternating time-slots, to fill in for reruns or allow other shows to go on temporary hiatus. My guess — and this is just a guess — will be that “Parks and Rec” will replace “Community” in January for three months, and then “Community” will return in April for the last two months of the season. I’d like to think that, when “Community” returns, “Parks and Rec” will fill in for “Outsourced,” assuming NBC burns off all of the new “Outsourced” eps. It’s wishful thinking.

In either respect, chances are, one of those shows — or both — won’t make it to next season. “Community,” the better rated show, hovers around the 2.0 rating in the prized demographic; anything lower than that — especially on the most-watched night of television — and it’s in danger of being pulled.

I just don’t understand why they don’t move the higher-rated “30 Rock” to the 8:00 hour, so it can lead into “Community,” instead of the other way around. But I’m not an NBC exec — and clearly, the fourth place network knows what it’s doing.

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked about DVR viewing, and how it fit into the television ratings. DVR viewership is accounted for fully into two weeks after a show airs, so it’s not part of the initial ratings. But a couple of low-rated shows during their initial run — “Fringe” and “Parenthood” — actually add the highest percentage of DVR viewers. “Fringe” adds around 45 percent more viewers when DVRs are accounted for, while “Parenthood” adds around 40 percent — giving it a 3.1 in the demo, which is pretty decent, and gives it a nice safety net on the low-rated NBC network. “Grey’s Anatomy” adds the third highest percentage of viewers on DVR. I suspect there are a lot of people who watch either “The Office,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” or “Fringe” live, and catch the other one or two on DVR. For the record, “Community” adds around .6 on DVR, to bring its ratings up to a somewhat better 2.5 in the demo. Compare that to around a 2.8 - 2.9 for “Outsourced,” which does not add a lot on DVR.

Talk about relativity, though. “Community” scores a paltry 4 million viewers on NBC and it could be cancelled, while “Mad Men’s” finale scored 2.4 million viewers last Sunday, and that’s a huge success. If only “Community” could air on AMC. For years and years, or at least until Chevy Chase dies.

Finally, Deadline is reporting that ABC has cut its order for a second season of “V” from 13 episodes to 10 episodes, beginning this January. So, great news! That’s three less episodes of “V” we have to ignore.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.