School is almost back in session, Community fans! Ahead of a November 17 production start date for the sixth season of the beloved cult comedy, which was once housed at NBC but is now at Yahoo, it’s been announced that Paget Brewster and Keith David are joining the cast in regular roles.
Brewster, known for her part on Criminal Minds, will portray Francesca “Frankie” Dart, a consultant brought in to help shape up Greendale after its conditions slip below state requirements. Sharp-eyed fans of Community might recognize Brewster, as she previously had a role in the season two episode “Analysis of Cork-Based Networking” as Debra Chambers, a member of Greendale’s IT department – but she’s playing a new character for her role in this season.
Meanwhile, David, known both for his voice-over work on various Ken Burns documentaries and for his roles in such films as Platoon and Crash, will play Elroy Patashnik, a retired scientist who is reinventing himself at Greendale. Funnily enough, David also has past experience with Community, having lent his distinctive vocals to the part of an unseen narrator in season three episode “Pillows and Blankets” (itself an homage to Ken Burns docs).
Showrunner Dan Harmon had been searching for actors to take on those two roles after previous series regular Yvette Nicole Brown (who played Shirley Bennett) exited the series in order to better care for her ailing father. When Community returns, it will be quite a different show than it was on NBC. In addition to Brown, John Oliver and Jonathan Banks have also moved onto other projects (HBO’s Last Week Tonight and AMC’s Better Call Saul, respectively).
So far, Joel McHale, Alison Brie, Gillian Jacobs, Danny Pudi, Ken Jeong and Jim Rash are all confirmed to return for the upcoming 13-episode season. Harmon has made no secret of his desire to get Donald Glover, who departed during season five, back for at least a guest spot, but the actor’s successful rap career under the pseudonym Childish Gambino makes his return to Community unlikely.
We’ll keep you posted as more on Community emerges. New episodes are expected early next year.