Even the return of Dan Harmon could not lift up the ratings for "Community". The fifth season premiere back to back episode raked in 3.7 million viewers and a 1.3 in adults 18-49 from 8-8.30 P.M. before going down to 3 million viewers and 1.2 rating in the next half-hour.
The debut episode was down 32% from the show's half-hour fourth-season opener last February and was an all-time low for a "Community" premiere. The show also failed to rack up ratings for its Thursday follow-ups "Sean Saves the World" and "The Michael J. Fox Show", both of which hit series lows. NBC was saved by "Parenthood" that went up 8% from its last original and had a slight win over "Community" as the night's highest-rated series.
One factor that made "Community" unable to get higher volume was the challenge from "The Big Bang Theory" over on CBS. The Jim Parsons comedy had an unchallenged 5.3 ratings and 18.9 million viewers at 8 P.M. Its follow ups, including "Elementary", received ups from their last episodes.
Ahead of the season premiere, Harmon told EW what his mission is for the new season. "It was certainly regaining the audience's trust, be they the mythical new viewer that we are always trying to get or the very real, loyal fan. We needed to thread the needle of rolling out a red carpet - wow, mixing a lot of metaphors - for both of those people," the showrunner said.