NBC has renewed Community as the Joel McHale starrer continues to march toward its "six seasons and a movie."
The beleaguered cult favorite will continue on for a fifth season, NBC announced Friday. The news comes a day after the Thursday comedy wrapped its fourth season, even year-over-year with a 1.3 rating in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic and tying American Idol among adults 18-34.
While Community will continue, it will do so without co-star Chevy Chase, who exited the show in November following a roller-coaster relationship with the NBC series as he grew frustrated with the direction his character was taking. Most recently in October, the actor used an N-word on-set when questioning dialog in a scene, then "immediately" apologized to the cast.
The pickup also comes ahead of Community's syndicated debut in the fall on Comedy Central, with repeats potentially helping to lift the series the way TBS' encores have helped push CBS' The Big Bang Theory to new heights in its sixth season.
Despite being initially left off the network's midseason lineup for the second time, the series received a vote of confidence from NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt earlier this year when he touted that the community college comedy would have more heart under new showrunners David Guarascio and Moses Port. The duo took over from series creator Dan Harmon this season, with some critics of the Sony Pictures Television vehicle giving season four mixed results, some noting Community had lost the edge it had under Harmon.
For NBC's part, the Community news as the network reinvents its comedy brand, with the community college series joining Parks and Recreation as its lone returning half-hours for 2013-14. All of its freshman comedies -- save for Ryan Murphy's semi-autobiographical entry The New Normal and summer effort Save Me -- have failed to earn second seasons, though Save Me is not expected to return. NBC on Friday dropped Matthew Perry's Go On, which was considered the rookie most likely to continue.
Meanwhile, NBC continues to add new comedies including The Michael J. Fox Show, Sean Saves the World, Undateable and The Family Guide, which just lost co-star Parker Posey.