NBC Renews PARENTHOOD; Orders 13-Episode Final Season of 30 ROCK [Updated]

     May 10, 2012

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Two on-the-bubble NBC shows have officially been given the order for new seasons.  The critical favorite yet ratings challenged drama Parenthood has been renewed for a 15-episode fourth season (per TV Line).  Showrunner Jason Katims is no stranger to ratings issues despite favorable reviews, as he led the stellar Friday Night Lights through five seasons of “will it be renewed?” drama.  I’m a fan of the ensemble and tone of Parenthood, but Katims will most likely have his hands full next season as his medical pilot County is said to be close to a pick up.  That show will star Jason Ritter, who led the doomed The Event and has been a frequent guest star on Parenthood.

Hit the jump for news regarding renewals for The Office and a final season for 30 Rock, as well as speculation about the fate of Community and Parks and Recreation. [Update: The Office hasn’t officially been renewed yet, but with deals almost done for the main cast members a renewal is expected]

rainn-wilson-dwight-schrute-the-officeAdditionally, Deadline reports that The Office has been renewed for a ninth season after deals with Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, and Ed Helms are close to being finalized.  The show is facing a crossroads, as Mindy Kaling will be leaving to run her Fox pilot that was just picked up and Rainn Wilson will segue to his own Office spinoff midseason, taking The Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein with him.  The quality of the show has waned considerably in the last few years, so it’ll be interesting to see if they plan on continuing past season nine.  A replacement has not yet been named for Lieberstein, and negotiations with B.J. Novak have yet to begin.

A couple of days ago, we reported that Tina Fey’s 30 Rock was likely looking at a 13-14 episode seventh season that could very well be its last.  Now TV Line reports that 30 Rock will indeed be coming back for a 13-episode final season.  The show kicked off a comedy resurgence for NBC alongside The Office, and paved the way for quirky and smart comedies like Community and Parks and Recreation.  However, the show has declined steadily in the ratings as of late and quality-wise it hasn’t exactly been at its best (though the current season is still better than the dreaded season four).  I’m happy to see that Fey and Co. will have 13 episodes to wrap things up, and hopefully the series can go out on a high note.

There’s still no word about renewals for fan-favorites Community and Parks and Recreation.  Following a dumbfounding and abrupt hiatus, Community returned to the air with strong ratings.  That bodes well for a renewal, as does the fact that a fourth season would make the show eligible for a lucrative syndication deal. The similarly smart and hilarious Parks and Recreation is also in the same boat.  The show doesn’t have stellar ratings (they’re in line with Community), but is a critical favorite.

Word was that, if NBC decides to pick up Community and Parks and Rec, it would be for shortened seasons a la 30 Rock.  I’m entirely fine with an abbreviated final season for both shows as long as the writers are given the opportunity to end the show as they see fit.  And hey, maybe they return with spectacular ratings next season and get surprisingly renewed again next year?  As the wise JP in Angels in the Outfield once said, it could happen.

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