Tonight NBC revealed it is bringing back comedy Community for a fifth season. While NBC has been criticized for shifting the premiere date for this last season and dumping showrunner Dan Harmon, Variety suggests its renewal may be related to something apart from the show. The Sony Pictures-produced show could have followed the path of Cougar Town to cable but there's also new competition for content from sources like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. All are willing to pay for quality original content and would love to snatch up the audience that's already watching on NBC.

One needs only look at Arrested Development or the Kickstarter for Veronica Mars to see how much hype "saving" a show brings in the digital realm. Another boost for the show is likely to come from reruns on Comedy Central, all of which adds up to a renewal order which at one time seemed unlikely to happen. Finally, NBC has other elements that are certainly in play, like stabilizing a Thursday night lineup with familiar shows as it prepares for the Winter Olympics early next year. When the show comes back it will unfortunately be without Chevy Chase's Pierce Hawthorne character, so a Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne 2 is probably not on the table. If you're not familiar with the show's pursuit of "six seasons and a movie" and wonder what all the hype is about, check after the break for one man's theory of Community as a "postmodern masterpiece."