'Community' returns Feb. 7 in '30 Rock' slot
NBC has revealed much of its midseason plans, setting return dates for “Community,” “Smash,” and the debuts of frosh series “Deception” and “1600 Penn.”“Community” has been handed a Feb. 7 preem date after delays and hiatuses for the laffer were peppered throughout 2012. Series star Yvette Nicole Brown broke the news via Twitter on Tuesday morning. “February 7th is #October19th! Who knew?!” tweeted the thesp, riffing off the “Community” YouTube short put out two weeks ago satirizing its initial Friday, Oct. 19 preem date. Peacock nixed Oct. 19 return dates for both “Community” and fellow halfhour comedy “Whitney” due to the broadcast net’s marketing sources being poured into its Monday and Wednesday night skeds featuring “The Voice” and newbie dramas “Revolution” and “Chicago Fire.” “Whitney” received a Nov. 14 season two premiere date earlier this month after NBC canned freshman comedy “Animal Practice.” “Whitney” is slated to takeover “Animal Practice’s” Wednesday 8 p.m. timeslot. “Community’s” return to NBC in the 8 o’clock hour on Thursday means it’s back in the timeslot it has primarily held the last couple of years. Current timeslot occupant “30 Rock,” which debuted its seventh and final season on Oct. 4, will likely have wrapped its 13-episode closing run by “Community’s” Feb. 7 debut. Fourth season of “Community” will mark the first episodes of the laffer since the departure of show creator Dan Harmon. He was replaced by new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port this year. “Parks and Recreation,” currently at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, will move up an hour to 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 17, saddling up next to like-minded “Community.” “Parks and Rec” is being relocated to make room for new laffer “1600 Penn,” which debuts on Jan. 10 in the 9:30 slot. “Smash” returns on Feb. 5, transitioning to Tuesday for its sophomore season. Peacock will continue to place reliable reality shows before dramas as it did during the fall lineup on Mondays, slating “The Biggest Loser” for Monday’s 8-10 p.m. slot as a lead in for new drama “Deception” at 10. The reality-to-drama strategy proved solid for NBC this season as “The Voice” preceded “Revolution” on Monday nights; the music show also provided a strong lead-in for “Smash” in its rookie season. “The Voice” and “Revolution” will be off the NBC sked until March 25, leaving a considerable quiet period for the heavy duty singing competish program between the end of its fall run in late November and its March midseason bow. Back-to-back seasons helped “The Voice” capitalize on momentum for the show, but downtime may help the skein avoid viewer fatigue and help NBC funnel its marketing resources into its earlier midseason debuts. Sunday nights will be home to unscripted programs “The Celebrity Apprentice” and new relationship series from Eva Longoria “Ready for Love.” “Apprentice” returns to NBC on March 3 and “Ready for Love” debuts on March 31, serving as an 8-10 p.m. lead in for “Apprentice” at 10. Additionally, hidden-camera skein “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers” comes back Jan. 8 with back-to-back episodes at 8 and 8:30. Flurry of midseason news comes as Peacock announced earlier in the week that “Up All Night,” which is set to return in April, will be switching from single to multi-cam and be taped in front of a live studio audience.