|On June 30, 2014 it was announced that the online streaming service Yahoo! Screen had picked up Community for a sixth Season. This ended weeks of speculation about renewal between Sony Pictures Television and another online entity Hulu falling through. The news arrived only a day before the cast contracts were set to expire on July 1st. A total of thirteen episodes were ordered and the show started production in the Fall of 2014. The premiere date was speculated to be sometime after Christmas and was eventually announced to be March 17, 2015 (source).|
After its cancellation by NBC on May 19, 2014, Sony aggressively pursued other avenues for a sixth season of Community to appear. On May 28 it was reported by Deadline.com that the online subscription service Hulu was interested in picking up the show. Hulu already had the streaming rights for the complete back catalog of Community episodes. Show creator Dan Harmon posted on his tumblr blog that while he was skeptical about renewal he would be open to returning to the show if it actually happened. In a Crave online interview with actor Danny Pudi ( Abed Nadir) he mentioned that any deal would need to be finalized before the end of June when the cast's contracts were to expire. On June 24, negotiations stalled with some sources stating Hulu lost interest and other sites refuting those claims. The conflicted reports also mentioned another media company also in talks with Sony which was later revealed to be Yahoo. Sony executive Zack Van Amburg mentioned creator Dan Harmon was heavily involved in the final negotiations. On June 30 it was officially announced that Yahoo had picked up Community for a sixth Season to be aired on their online streaming network Yahoo Screen.
Cast and Crew
The last minute deal was brokered just before the actor's contract expiration deadline. All of the remaining main cast from Season Five (Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Alison Brie, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ken Jeong and Jim Rash) were expected to return. However, not long after Season Six began production, it was announced on September 30 that Yvette Nicole Brown was leaving the show. Brown requested a release from her contract in order to take care of her ailing father. She issued this statement through TV Guide:
- “My dad needs daily care and he needs me. The idea of being away 16 hours a day for five months, I couldn't do it. It was a difficult decision for me to make, but I had to choose my dad.”— Yvette Nicole Brown
With Brown's departure two new characters were created to help fill out the returning cast. On November 9 Yahoo TV announced who would play the new roles of "Francesca "Frankie" Dart" and "Elroy Patashnik". Actress Paget Brewster was cast as Dart. She was described as a woman who's brought in as a consultant to help shape up the school. Brewster had previously played the character of Debra Chambers in Season Five of Community. Actor Keith David was cast as Patashnik, a retired scientist who comes to Greendale to reinvent himself. David had also been on a previous Community episode providing the narration for the Season Three episode "Pillows and Blankets".
On November 17 Entertainment Weekly.com reported that Martin Mull and Lesley Ann Warren had been cast as Britta's parents George and Deb Perry. On January 21, 2015 it was announced on Yahoo TV that former "Cougar Town" star Brian Van Holt would be guest starring in Season Six. He played a former convict named "Willy" who becomes a nemesis for Jeff. On February 27, TV Insider reported that actor Billy Zane would be guest starring on an episode alongside Travis Shuldt who will be repraising his role as Rick.
Recurring cast member Jonathan Banks (Buzz Hickey) was not expected to return since he is committed to AMC's "Breaking Bad" spin off "Better Call Saul". John Oliver's (Ian Duncan) status was unknown due to his work on "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver". At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con Dan Harmon said Oliver's participation was still "contractually possible" On December 8, 2014, Chevy Chase (Pierce Hawthorne) did an AMA session on Reddit and stated he was to have a small cameo in Season Six with the possibility of returning for another appearance. Dan Harmon did not entirely refute his claim suggesting if he were to return it would be a secret.
During his appearance at Paleyfest earlier in the year, Harmon stated that if Community was renewed he would like Donald Glover (Troy Barnes) to come back for Season Six. Glover had joked about reprising the role during an IGN interview in June of that year. In an interview with TV line, Dan Harmon mentioned he told Yahoo that he would like to have Glover return and a spokesperson replied they would work on that. On October 3rd, Donald Glover discussed the possibility of returning in an on air interview with radio talk show host JoJo Wright. Glover admitted to having talked to Dan Harmon about it but teased if he was going to return that he wanted to make sure it felt right to him and was handled correctly in keeping with the spirit of the show (source). Ultimately despite all the online speculation Donald Glover, John Oliver and Chevy Chase did not return.
Community creator, Showrunner and executive producer Dan Harmon confirmed his and co-showrunner Chris McKenna's return. Writer Matt Roller stated on Reddit that he would be returning but Don Diego, Tim Saccardo, Andy Bobrow, Jordan Blum, Adam Countee and Parker Deay would not since they had gotten jobs on other shows before the renewal was announced. On September 8, the writing staff for Season Six assembled. A list of the current writing staff was tweeted online and included Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna, Kevin Beigel, Dan Guterman, Alex Rubens, Ryan Ridley, Matt Roller, Carol Kolb and Monica Padrick.
An interview on IGN posted on August 26, 2014, former Community executive producers and directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed they were returning to direct the Season Six premiere. On November 17 it was announced by Spoiler guide.com that Jim Rash (Dean Pelton) and his writing partner Nat Faxon were going to direct the second episode featuring the debut of Keith David's character "Elroy Patashnik".
|Filming for Season Six ended on March 27, 2015. Various cast and crew posted messages and photos via Twitter on the final day of shooting.
|On his twitter account, Dan Harmon confirmed that work on the show would be starting Fall 2014 dismissing reports that Season Six would premiere at that time. Harmon later stated at the 2014 San Diego Comic Con Community panel that the first episode of Season Six would most likely premiere sometime after Christmas. According to a Yahoo Movies article, production of the show is scheduled to start on November 17. Sony executive Zack Van Aumburg stated that budget of the show would be unchanged and that because of the different format on Yahoo! screen, episodes could actually run longer than the 21 minutes broadcast versions which ran on NBC (source). At the 2014 Comic Con panel, Harmon stated he wanted to "make the same show" and not push the boundaries of what they could do simply for the sake of doing that (source). Dan Harmon confirmed on his Instagram account that filming of the show would take place at CBS studio center instead of the Paramount lot on Stage 31. Harmon speculated the shows premiere date to be January 27, 2015 (source) but ultimately it was officially announced on January 13, 2015 that it would air on March 17 (source). A video was released online (see below) to promote the premiere date.
Yahoo Season recap videos
After negotiations were completed, Yahoo posted online a poster featuring the hashtag "#COMMUNITYLIVESON". They later had similar posters promoting the show prominently displayed at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con.
E-mail Diane promotion
|In promotion of Season Six, Yahoo released a series of short videos which gave a brief recap of the previous five seasons. The first video contained a hidden message "#Email Diane". The second video contained a new message which read "seriouslyemaildiane". If viewers actually sent an e-mail to "firstname.lastname@example.org" they recieved the reply below.
|“||Thanks for your message. I'm OOO with limited access to email until 3/17, but assume you're in touch about the mallard farm, Hermione cameo, pillar installation invoice, or my matchmaking consultants fee. Very well.
Please respond by email, verifying your "name" and "title" in the format below. Name: LastName, FirstName Title: The Magic 8 Ball Incarnate (this is just an example)
Please also include your mailing address, or ask a tricky question only I would know the answer to. (And then confirm your mailing address.)
We will be sure to deliver what is rightfully yours... when the time is right.
The promotion is assumed to be an Alternate Reality Game. On 17th February the email address was again seen in the Community 501 video on the side of the Childish Tycoon, and emailing it this time gave a different response:
|“||#TSTaskForce6: Trouble afoot. Stand by for further instruction.
Another e-mail was sent to a few fans who participated in the ARP which included this link: dianesinbox.tumblr.com. The link leads to "Diane"'s password protected tumblr. In the final recap video for Season Five another hidden message, "#TearsInRain", which turned out to be the password for the tumblr. The site featured e-mails and animated gifs which provide teasers for the upcoming season. Below are the gifs featured on the tumblr:
|Fans that e-mailed Diane their address later received a promotional tie in to Season Six. It was a customized frisbee similar to the ones featured in the premiere episode "Ladders".
Behind the scenes photos
|At the 2014 San Diego Comic Con, a special panel was hosted by TV Guide celebrating "Community" called "Greendale Forever". Creator Dan Harmon and co-showrunner Chris McKenna were in attendance joined by cast members Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash along with creative consultant (and Star-Burns portrayer) Dino Stamatopoulos. They answered questions about the show and talked about what to expect in Season Six.
Yahoo did a great deal of promotion throughout the convention center with "Community" Season Six banners and bathroom signs. The bathroom signs had the human being school mascot outside of the men's room and the human being with a bow outside the ladies room.
|On February 9, 2015 it was officially announced on Yahoo's tumblr that Honda was signed to be a sponsor for Season Six. Not only would this include pre-roll videos but also product placements. This occurred in the episode "Advanced Safety Features" which featured various Honda products, particularly Honda's CR-V model. In addition, a special webisode called "Abed and the Dean Share a Moment in a Honda" was filmed and posted exclusively in Yahoo screen. It featured the pair parodying the narrating trends in car commercials.
|"Ladders"||March 17, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Schrab - Written by: Dan Harmon, Chris McKenna
Dean Pelton hires an administrative consultant to put things in order at Greendale, pitting Abed against Jeff, Britta, and Annie.
|"Lawnmower Maintenance and Postnatal Care"||March 17, 2015|
|Directed by: Jim Rash and Nat Faxon - Written by: Alex Rubens
As Jeff and Frankie look to extract Dean Pelton from his expensive virtual reality world, Britta uncovers an uncomfortable truth about her parents George and Deb and her friends' generosity.
|"Basic Crisis Room Decorum"||March 24, 2015|
|Directed by: Bobcat Goldthwait - Written by: Monica Padrick
The Greendale gang goes on the offensive when a rival college releases an attack ad.
|"Queer Studies & Advanced Waxing"||March 31, 2015|
|Directed by: Jim Rash and Nat Faxon - Written by: Matt Lawton
Dean Pelton is asked to lie; Chang auditions for a stage adaptation of "The Karate Kid".
|"Laws of Robotics & Party Rights"||April 7, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Schrab - Written by: Dean Young
Jeff squares off against a charming prison inmate Willy who’s attending Greendale via telerobot. Britta enlists Abed to get around Annie’s rules against parties in their apartment.
|"Basic Email Security"||April 14, 2015|
|Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar - Written by: Matt Roller
A hacker threatens to share everyone's personal emails if a racist comedian is performs at Greendale.
|"Advanced Safety Features"||April 21, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Schrab - Written by: Carol Kolb
An ex-boyfriend lures Britta into joining Honda’s guerilla marketing campaign; Jeff wants Elroy to like him.
|"Intro to Recycled Cinema"||April 28, 2015|
|Directed by: Victor Nelli Jr. - Written by: Clay Lapari
While Chang leaves Greendale to pursue fame in Hollywood, Abed agrees to complete his unfinished film aided by Frankie, her movie producer friend Maury and Jeff.
|"Grifting 101"||May 5, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Schrab - Written by: Ryan Ridley
When a clever con man uses his class to cheat the committee they enlist Jeff to get revenge.
|"Basic RV Repair and Palmistry"||May 12, 2015|
|Directed by: Jay Chandrasekhar - Written by: Dan Guterman
While on a road trip to get rid of a Greendale artifact, Abed turns the situation into a feature film.
|"Modern Espionage"||May 19, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Schrab - Written by: Mark Stegemann
A secret paintball assassin game is played on the Greendale campus.
|"Wedding Videography"||May 26, 2015|
|Directed by: Adam Davidson - Written by: Briggs Hatton
The committee attends Garrett's wedding while Abed films the event as a mockumentary.
|"Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"||June 2, 2015|
|Directed by: Rob Scrab - Written by: Dan Harmon & Chris McKenna
As the latest semester ends, Abed asks everyone to imagine pitching a TV show about next year.