‘Community’ Creator Thanks Fans for Pushing NBC to Bring Back Show

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Community” creator Dan Harmon promises that the third season will ultimately have “the highest body count of any sitcom season.” The cult sitcom’s panel at PaleyFest was a love letter to its devoted fans, who have kept the pressure on NBC to return the show to its schedule while it was on hiatus.  “It is marvelous that we’re back [on March 15]. It’s due in no small measure to your goatees and your flashmobs and your hashtags on Twitter,” star Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley) told the crowd.

Harmon feels that the show’s absence from the lineup helped NBC to evaluate its performance in a new light. “It’s nice to go back to a timeslot that now can be known to be a hazardous environment. The entire time we were there it was like, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and now it’s like, ‘It’s hurtful, that place’.”

To promote the show’s return, the show has created an animated web series, “Abed’s Master Key” that will debut March 7. The webisodes feature Abed (Danny Pudi) working as Dean Pelton’s temporary assistant. Watch the clip above to see a preview.

Whether there will be a fourth season is of great concern to fans. Executive producer Russ Krasnoff jokingly put the show’s odds of returning at 63 percent saying, “We’re feeling pretty confident.”  He extolled fans to “continue to be loud.”

The show’s spring premiere on March 15 will feature Shirley’s remarriage to her estranged husband Andre, played by Brown’s childhood crush Malcolm Jamal Warner. Other episodes will include a parody of “Law & Order,” one where, according to Harmon, “Annie and Abed basically spend the whole episode in the dreamatorium,” and one that Harmon cryptically promised will “either be the best or worst thing that has ever happened.”

John Goodman will return as the powerful head of the Air Conditioning Repair program. Other upcoming guest stars include Rob Corrdry, reprising his role as Alan Connor from Season One, and Giancarlo Esposito and Michael Ironside.

The panel featured its own special guest star: Jim Rash, who plays Dean Pelton, brought the Oscar that he just won for writing “The Descendants.” Harmon called out director Alexander Payne for hogging the mike at the Academy Awards. “When the show comes back for Season Four, I think that since Alexander Payne did so much work on that movie, he should play the Dean. He’s a very charismatic guy. He’s the first director to give a speech for a writing award that I’ve ever seen. So we’ll see if he can act, too.”

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