Yahoo Takes Gamble With Community

When NBC and Hulu passed on producing a sixth season of Community, Yahoo stepped in. But will the gamble pay off?



The future of (formerly) NBC’s Community has been uncertain since the network announced in May that it was canceling the series. Hulu was the next logical partner since it has online streaming rights for the show, but talks with Hulu fell apart, and it looked like the show wouldn’t be renewed before the actors’ contracts expired.

At the last minute, Yahoo Screen jumped in to give the show its sixth season. In addition to Community, Yahoo is adding original programming to its line-up as part of its endeavor to attract streaming audiences. In fact, the Internet company inked a deal with Paul Feig, writer and producer of the short-lived NBC show Freaks and Geeks, to produce a Yahoo original series called Other Space. According to Variety, Yahoo has also recruited Smallville executive producer Mike Tollin and Bryan Gordon, director of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Let’s be honest, the average consumer probably doesn’t even know Yahoo Screen exists. But these deals demonstrate that Yahoo is serious about making its Screen service a real competitor in the streaming space. And so far, the reviews are positive.

“A pretty clean interface, and the content ain’t too bad either,” said an iTunes user in a review of the Screen app. “My favorite thing about the app, where I think it really shines, is its ABILITY TO SAVE DEAD TV SHOWS. THANK YOU YAHOO!!!!!!!”

There’s always the risk of audience resistance to trying a new streaming service, but according to Motherboard contributor Fruzsina Eördögh, Yahoo could attract a lot of Community‘s cult following by hosting the show’s sixth season. Nearly three million fans watched the season five finale, and if all of those watch the season six premiere, Yahoo could have a lot of eyeballs to serve with advertising.