Television is a business that thrives on the number of viewers who tune in to a show in any given week. These viewers are calculated by the Nielsen ratings. That phrase alone can strike fear and rage into the hearts of TV viewers. A low viewership never bodes well for a show, because that determines whether or not a program will renewed.
With last week’s “30 Rock” series finale and the upcoming season premiere of “Community,” the question of television ratings remains in the minds of viewers everywhere.
Viewers aren’t the only ones bidding the show farewell, however; award shows are, too. “30 Rock” has received 90 Emmy nominations during the course of its run in categories such as “Outstanding Comedy Series” and “Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series.” Tina Fey has also won an Emmy for “Outstanding Lead Actress in A Comedy Series” for her work on the show.
But despite the show’s many accolades, each of “30 Rock’s” seasons has played host to a struggle for renewal. The show’s sixth season was its low point in the Nielsen ratings, which resulted in the seventh season being its last.
As the innovative and trailblazing “30 Rock” ends, it leaves in its wake a slew of TV shows with critical acclaim but no viewers to back it up.
One of these shows is “Community,” which returns Thursday, Feb. 7 at 8 p.m., and it is the clearest example of critical acclaim and fan dedication, but the quantity of fans has always been lacking.
The NBC comedy (“30 Rock” also aired on this network) finished its third season with a series low of 2.99 million viewers.
Despite this, Community has won countless awards. It won the Best Comedy Series at the Critics’ Choice Awards, determined by The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.
“Community” also frequently wins many awards in which fan polls decide who gets the victory. It has won “TV Guide Magazine’s” Fan Favorite Award and was on the cover of the magazine that month. “TIME” has also listed one episode of “Community” in its top 10 TV episodes of 2012 list.
The fate of “Community” has always been tumultuous at best, but the season four premiere has every critic watching to see what happens.
These two shows are not the only critically acclaimed shows that have obsessive fans and high award counts; they just happen to be the most relevant on TV right now.
One of the best examples throughout the history of the TV landscape is “Arrested Development,” a critic favorite which was cancelled with a 3.4 million viewer count—similar to “30 Rock” and “Community.” It also had its fair share of Emmy nods. However, despite being cancelled years ago, it is getting a fourth season on Netflix.