The peacock network has made a surprising early pickup and has renewed Parks and Recreation for a third season. What gives?
Parks and Recreation is a documentary-style comedy (similar to The Office) that follows the employees of the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana. The cast features Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, Paul Schneider, Nick Offerman, and Chris Pratt.
The NBC series debuted in April 2009 with a six episode season. Parks averaged just a 2.37 rating in the key demo and 5.35 million total viewers for the season. Despite the disappointing ratings, the show was renewed for a second cycle.
This season, the numbers have dipped even lower. Thus far, the sitcom has averaged a 2.3 rating in the 18-49 demo and 5.1 million viewers. Parks was expected to be on the bubble for renewal this time around but the peacock execs have just given the show an early renewal for season three. Why?
According to THR, the early renewal was done for production reasons, to lock in the actors’ schedules. Several of the performers have other projects in the works with Poehler being in heavy demand. It also doesn’t hurt that the show is popular with people in the 18-49 demo that earn more than $100,000 per year.
Practically speaking, NBC will have to essentially rebuild the 2010-11 schedule and will want some established shows to anchor the nights. No word on how many episodes of Parks the network has ordered but it seems likely that they’ll start with 13 installments and increase the order as needed.
The Office and 30 Rock are all but guaranteed to be renewed but there’s no word on how the Parks order will affect Community’s chances for survival. The Chevy Chase freshman sitcom typically performs better than Parks so it would seem that it’s also a lock for renewal.
However, the network has eight comedy pilots in development and would likely want to keep a Thursday night timeslot open to try one or two. The network may be waiting to look at the new pilots until making a decision about Community.
What do you think? Are you glad to hear that Parks has been renewed? If you had to choose, would you have liked to have seen Community renewed over Parks?
Image courtesy NBC.