Yahoo to create 6th season of Community for online
Tech company building viewers for its Screen service with original content
Yahoo Inc. will continue the cult-hit comedy Community online at its video-streaming site, Screen, committing to produce a sixth season of 13 new episodes.
The series will keep its original cast – including Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown — and also executive producer Dan Harmon.
"I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online,"Harmon said in a statement, before poking fun at the show's cult status with a reference to its biggest comedy rival. "I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, Big Bang Theory."
In taking over the show cancelled by NBC in May, Yahoo is taking a page from Netflix, which boosted subscribers and bumped up its profit by continuing Arrested Development in 2013.
Yahoo has been busy signing content deals over the past year to lure regular users to Screen for entertainment. It has an exclusive agreement to offer Saturday Night Live clips and it hired Katie Couric for an interview show.
It also is producing original web series -- a sci-fi sitcom called Other Space and Sin City Saints, a show about a pro-basketball team.
Community is about a group of friends who come together at a community college with an iffy pedigree and had a loyal following for its quirky humour that referred to TV conventions and the show’s own history.
Critics and fans admired the show's cleverness, but it drew only 3.8 million viewers in its final season and NBC typically renewed the series only at the last minute. The deal with Yahoo was also a last-minute effort, with Sony Pictures Television and Yahoo finalizing their agreement Monday, the last day of the cast members' contracts on the show.
Yahoo’s Screen, with 52 million viewers, has plenty of competition, trailing Facebook and AOL services and far behind YouTube with 150 million viewers a month.