NBC Announces Its Midseason Schedule, Pulls Community For a "Short Time"

NBC has announced its midseason schedule, and I hope you like being angry, because it's full of all sorts of buffoonery. First and foremost (and most personal to me), Community has been *sigh* pulled from the network's lineup to make room for the return of 30 Rock.

The official word from NBC is that Community is "on the bench for a short time," meaning that it hasn't been canceled, but its renewal prospects don't look too good either. The likeliest scenario is that Community will return in the spring after one of the network's other comedies wraps its season, but even then, it might be hard to find a slot for the show. Ugh. I want to cry. There are reports that all 22 episodes of Community will be produced and make it to air, but that's precisely the type of thing NBC would say no matter what. Maybe it will burned off in the summer, maybe it will be late spring. Hopefully it will be somewhere. As much as I'd like to bonk NBC over the head for this, Community's ratings just weren't that great despite critical acclaim and positive word-of-mouth.

This news is the result of a domino effect caused by several other shows swapping places. Whitney will move to Wednesday nights at 8pm, where it will be paired with new comedy Are You There, Chelsea? (formerly Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea), based on the book by Whitney Cummings champion Chelsea Handler. That move pushes Up All Night to Thursdays, where it probably should have been in the first place since it's a single-camera comedy with a workplace vibe, like all of NBC's other Thursday-night comedies.

Also getting bad news today is Prime Suspect, which finds itself homeless come 2012. It will be replaced by The Firm, a legal drama based on the John Grisham novel and film of the same name. Prime Suspect has been on the chopping block for some time now, and NBC did everything it could to keep it alive, including airing repeats in an attempt to build an audience. That strategy didn't work. NBC is reportedly "exploring its options" with Prime Suspect, which is an empty PR phrase that translates to "things aren't looking good."

Other moves include Harry's Law from Wednesdays to Sundays and Rock Center with Brian Williams from Mondays to Wednesdays to make way for the new Broadway drama Smash.

And perhaps just as depressing as Community's yank is the absence of Awake, the mind-bending drama from Lone Star creator Kyle Killen that was (I believe) due to debut in January. That show, which recently made headlines by stopping production for script overhauls, could still premiere sometime in March if things go well, but it's another wait-and-see scenario.

Here's the updated NBC midseason schedule for those of you who like to be depressed:

NBC 2012 Midseason Schedule (January - March)
New shows are in ALLCAPS

8-10pm – The Voice (season premiere Sunday, February 5 after the Super Bowl; series resumes February 6)
10-11pm – SMASH (beginning February 6)

8-10pm –The Biggest Loser (beginning January 3)
10-11pm – Parenthood (through February 28)
10-11pm – FASHION STAR (beginning Tuesday, March 13 with a two-hour premiere from 9 to 11pm; one-hour episodes resume March 20)

8-8:30pm – Whitney (beginning January 11)
8:30-9pm – ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA? (beginning January 11)
9-10pm – Rock Center with Brian Williams (beginning February 8)
10-11pm – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

8-8:30pm – 30 Rock (beginning January 12)
8:30-9pm – Parks and Recreation
9-9:30pm – The Office
9:30-10pm – Up All Night (beginning January 12)
10-11pm – THE FIRM (two-hour premiere Sunday January 8; Thursday time period premiere January 12)

8-9pm – Who Do You Think You Are? (beginning February 3)
9-10pm – Grimm
10-11pm – Dateline NBC

8-9pm – Harry’s Law (encore broadcasts)
9-10pm –THE FIRM (encore broadcasts)
10-11pm – Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (encore broadcasts)

7-9pm – Dateline NBC (beginning January 8)
8-9pm – Harry’s Law (beginning March 4)
9-11pm – The Celebrity Apprentice (beginning February 12)

Okay, let's hear your thoughts about NBC's decisions!