Coming on the tails of NBC's news that they'd be pursuing "broader" projects for their comedy lineup, Fox has announced that they're moving forward on a possible new sitcom being written by the former showrunner of Community, Dan Harmon. There aren't any details about the show yet, just that they've signed him on to write such a series, but is there a chance that Harmon will find himself more at home here than at NBC? Fox is, after all, the channel that brought us Arrested Development. Then again, they also canceled Arrested Development after just three seasons. But considering the shows they currently have on the air -- like Emmy-nominated quirkfests The New Girl and Raising Hope -- maybe Fox has seen the error of their ways?
And could Community pull a Buffy and find more success at a different network?
While Harmon's new show is signed-and-sealed official news, the latter question about a possible network move by Community is merely a thought I've had lately. And while others may have thought of it, it probably doesn't even qualify as conjecture. But could it be worth a thought? After all, Fox has now brought on that show's creator to write a pilot for a multi-camera comedy show. That's all we know about it, no premises, no casting speculation, nothing concrete yet (if we're going by TV Guide, anyway). This won't even be Harmon's first show for Fox -- maybe you remember Heat Vision and Jack, about the talking motorcycle played by Owen Wilson that belonged to Jack Black. Harmon co-wrote that show, and after it left the air in 1999 (the same year it began), it became a cult favorite. In fact, it only went as far as the pilot, so that's a pretty culty cult following.
But fast forward just a couple of years and Fox airs another cult favorite, Arrested Development. It becomes an instant favorite with fans, but never really hits its stride in the ratings. While it is praised by critics, the cancellation question is constantly hanging over it. In 2006, that finally happens, and a specific portion of the TV audience mourns while everyone else discovers it a year too late. (But it's doing fine now, gearing up for its huge Netflix comeback, and Ron Howard has proof for us in the form of a script.)
Something to keep in mind, however, is that when Arrested Development was not winning the ratings, reality shows and American Idol were. And that's simply not the case anymore. Now, while American Idol meanders into oblivion (despite the addition of the fabulous Mariah Carey as a judge), Fox has become the home of silly, quirky scripted television -- Glee, its animation block featuring the Seth McFarlane brand of comedy, Fringe, its live-action sitcoms. This is not the Fox of 2006. This is the channel that NBC is too timid to become. And that could be the perfect place for Dan Harmon (besides Adult Swim, where he also developing a show) -- and maybe even Community. It's just a thought.
Fox eyes comedy from Community's Dan Harmon [The Hollywood Reporter]