What Is Yahoo Screen and Why Is It Saving ‘Community’?

By  · Published on July 1st, 2014


Granting the wishes of millions of fans who still believed in the power of the “six seasons and a movie” mantra, Community is indeed getting a sixth season (the movie is still, of course, a dream), though not in the way most viewers were probably expecting. When NBC canceled the series in May, outraged fans demanded answers, which came in increasingly more positive waves, thanks to the news that a number of on-demand services (from Hulu to Netflix) could pick up the series. And although neither of those names (or even Amazon and Crackle, which were also suggested) took the tantalizing TV bait, someone else did.

According to an official press release and the gleeful howls of Human Beings everywhere, Yahoo! Screen will now revive the beloved television series (which, based on this news, is still a former television series, it’s all online now, baby!), news that probably requires the question: wait, what’s Yahoo! Screen?

Yahoo! Screen (and, side note, while Yahoo has not discarded their kicky exclamation point, it’s far easier to write without it) was formerly Yahoo Video, a video sharing website much like YouTube, one that allowed users to share and upload their own material. In February of 2008 (after less than two years in existence), Yahoo Video turned their focus to only sharing officially Yahoo-hosted materials – think trailers, Yahoo specials, and branded clips – before removing all uploading ability entirely in December of 2010 in order to relaunch as Yahoo Screen (they then went one step further, taking down all user-uploaded content in March of 2011).

In 2011, Yahoo Screen officially relaunched, including on-demand streaming for a variety of entertainment choices (from TV shows to movies to webisodes) and a steadily revolving homepage that places an emphasis on fresh material and viral videos. The relaunch also included the advent of original programming – including eight shows that range from comedy series Burning Love (which was eventually syndicated to E!) to Paul Feig’s Other Space (which was ordered earlier this year and has yet to premiere)— a lineup that Community will now join. It’s a coup for the site, as Community is undoubtedly the best-known series that they have ever produced, and will surely bring plenty more attention to their site in general and their originally programming in particular.

You can give the site a look – as of now, it’s rife with movie trailers, special spotlights on World Cup action, an entire section for “Awesome Animals” (aww) and channels for programs like Saturday Night Live and stations like Comedy Central. It’s certainly a kitschy and forward-thinking space for the cult show to appear, though it remains to be seen if fans (even the rabid Community kind) will make the jump to online series-watching.

The online video site has now ordered thirteen episodes of the show – which they happily describe as “a smart, exuberant comedy that is consistently ranked as one of the most inventive and original half-hours on television. This ensemble comedy centers around a tight-knit group of friends who all met at what is possibly the world’s worst educational institution – Greendale Community College” – to air later this fall.

Creator Dan Harmon remarked on the news, “I am very pleased that Community will be returning for its predestined sixth season on Yahoo…I look forward to bringing our beloved NBC sitcom to a larger audience by moving it online. I vow to dominate our new competition. Rest easy, Big Bang Theory. Look out, Bang Bus!”

Zack Van Amburg, president of programming and production for Sony Pictures Television piped in, “The fans spoke and we listened. Thanks to Yahoo, and the amazing team that makes Community great, we’ve avoided the Darkest Timeline yet again and plan to deliver a fantastic season.”

Harmon will, of course, return for the new season, and the cast (including Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs and Alison Brie) are also expected to continue their work on the show.

Are you a Community fan? Will you watch it on Yahoo Screen?