"30 Rock" will be on Thursdays at 8 in place of our friends from Greendale Community College (while "Whitney" lives to laughtrack another day), and "The Firm" will take over the Thursday at 10 o'clock timeslot where "Prime Suspect" has been steadily getting better. NBC says "Community" will be back at some point, on a date and time TBD, while "Prime Suspect" will probably just finish out its initial 13-episode order and go back to the hat store in the sky.
But "Community" has essentially been on a kamikaze mission for a long time now, going up against "The Big Bang Theory" and one of "American Idol" or "The X Factor" for a while now. It aired after "The Office" briefly at the start of its first season and has had to go it alone ever since. "Whitney," which gets to stay on the schedule - albeit swapping timeslots with "Up All Night" - has done better entirely because of that "Office" lead-in, and has been bleeding viewers almost as quickly as it's been arousing critical pans. "Community" is a mess ratings-wise, but it's one of NBC's few shows that still draws largely unabashed love from critics (and from its shrinking but passionate group of fans). Pulling it off the schedule temporarily given the ratings is understandable; pulling it off the schedule while leaving "Whitney" on is not. Either show is going to do the same pathetic numbers on Wednesdays at 8 - away from its "Office" cocoon, "Whitney" could easily do worse than "Community" would - and one move at least buys continued goodwill from the press and viewers, whereas there's no one outside the immediate families of Whitney Cummings and Chris D'Elia who will be happy that show continues to air, week after week.
"Community" isn't canceled. There will still be a bunch of episodes to air for the rest of this season, and while I try to look at the show as living on borrowed time - it's somewhat miraculous we'll be getting around 70 episodes, mimimum, of such an idiosyncratic, brilliant comedy - given the way NBC's fortunes have gone lately, I can easily see the new product failing so utterly that NBC pulls a "Chuck" and decides to stick with a known, albeit small, audience for a beloved show. (It also may help that "Community" is produced by Sony, which jumped through hoops to get FOX to keep making "Til Death" episodes for the syndication money a few years back.)
WEDNESDAY: "Whitney" moves here to 8 p.m. on January 11, followed by "Are You There, Chelsea?" (formerly "Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea"), a sitcom about the young life of talk show host Chelsea Handler, played here by Laura Prepon. (Handler has a supporting role as her own sister.) "Rock Center with Brian Williams," which has been dying on Mondays at 10, will likely do just as poorly here at 9, followed by "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
Laura Prepon is... Chelsea Handler!
Holy shit, that sounds like an awful block of television.
THURSDAY: "30 Rock" is back at 8 on January 12, followed by "Parks and Recreation" (unscathed in the madness, blessedly), "The Office," "Up All Night" (which NBC understandably believes in a lot more than "Whitney") and "The Firm," with Josh Lucas in the Tom Cruise role. Intrepid Reader: Gil Gunderson
"The Firm on NBC looks interesting."