The good folks of the Parks and Recreation Department in Pawnee, Indiana are back for more hijinks, well, at least for a little while.
NBC has announced that the cast of its iconic sitcom “Parks and Rec” is set to reunite for a half-hour scripted special airing on April 30, in aid of COVID-19. Almost all the original cast members, including Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Jim O’Heir, and Retta, will be back in character for the special. Expect several guest stars from the original show to pop in too.
This marks the latest in a series classic sitcom reunions, most notable of which is a “Friends” reunion special (albeit unscripted) which is still in the pipeline at HBO Max.
Five years after “Parks and Rec” finished its seven-season run, this new story draws from events happening day, as Pawnee’s most dedicated civil servant, Leslie Knope (Poehler), is determined to stay connected to her friends in a time of social distancing. The special, spearheaded by co-creator Michael Shur, will help raise money for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
“Like a lot of other people, we were looking for ways to help and felt that bringing these characters back for a night could raise some money,” said Schur. “I sent a hopeful email to the cast and they all got back to me within 45 minutes. Our old ‘Parks and Rec’ team has put together one more 30-minute slice of (quarantined) Pawnee life and we hope everyone enjoys it. And donates!”
The original “Parks and Recreation,” a Universal Television production, ran from 2009 to 2015 and was nominated for a hatful of Emmys and Golden Globes throughout its run. Poehler won the show’s lone Globe in 2014 for her performance.
“In such uncertain times, we can’t think of anyone better than Leslie Knope to unite our country with her unbridled enthusiasm and compassion,” said Lisa Katz and Tracey Pakosta, co-presidents of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment. “A huge thank you to Mike Schur and the cast of ‘Parks and Recreation’ for putting this wonderful special together and bringing a smile to all our faces while raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”
At the show’s PaleyFest 10th anniversary reunion last year, several cast members said they would be happy to reprise their characters for a revival, but only if Schur was on board.
“Whenever Mike is ready, I’ll put on my suit again for sure,” said Poehler at the time, with Offerman saying that “we’d all come running” if Schur “came up with an original, new idea.”
“Parks and Recreation” is a production of Deedle-Dee Productions, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Universal TV. Schur, Greg Daniels, Howard Klein, David Miner, Morgan Sackett and Dean Holland serve as executive producers on the series.