Cabler will air past episodes starting in fall '13

Comedy Central has acquired off-net rights to NBC’s “Community” and will begin airing episodes from its first three seasons in fall 2013.

The deal with Sony Pictures TV comes just as the laffer returns from a haitus with new episodes beginning Thursday on the Peacock.

“Within the chaos of the current media landscape, we are fortunate that we live in a timeline where ‘Community’ comes to Comedy Central,” said Comedy Central EVP of program strategy and multiplatform programming David Bernath. “Our staff is celebrating with a game of paintball in the offices today.”

Said Sony Pictures TV prexy of U.S. distribution John Weiser: ” ‘Community’ is a perfect fit for the Comedy Central audience.”

The ensemble featuring Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Donald Glover, Ken Jeong and Chevy Chase has been the subject of much speculation over its NBC future, its audience figures contrasting with its passionate following online. In its most recent original episode, airing Dec. 8, “Community” drew a 1.5 rating and 4 share among viewers 18-49 and 3.6 million viewers overall.

Showrunner Dan Harmon exec produces with Russ Krasnoff, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Garrett Donovan, Neil Goldman and Gary Foster.

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