Last night was the long-anticipated return of Community to NBC, after a fall hiatus that left a lot of fans wondering if the show ever really would come back. We loved the episode, as you may have already read in our review of the show, and as it turns out, the rest of America actually did too. The perennially low-rated Community returned to really solid numbers last night even in the crowded Thursday night market, with a rating that nearly matches The Office to make it the nights #1 comedy on NBC.

Even more impressive, its numbers in the coveted 18-34 demographic actually had it ahead of the powerhouse American Idol. According to numbers cited by NY Mag's West Coast Editor Joe Adalian on Twitter, Community scored a 2.8 rating among 18-34 year old viewers, while Idol netted just a 2.5. And among men in that age bracket, Community destroyed, with a 3.3 rating to Idol's 1.9. More detailed numbers at TV Line point out that a lot of that may be thanks to The Big Bang Theory, which took the night off due to NCAA basketball, and is often the biggest competition for Community that night. Maybe evidence that NBC ought to bring back Community but stop pitching it against such stiff competition?

It's still unclear whether Community will be renewed for another season-- much less the "six seasons and a movie" that creator Dan Harmon is always half-joking about on twitter-- but this is definitely a good start. We'll have more info on last night's ratings numbers for you later, but in the meantime, you Community fans are allowed to walk with an extra spring in your steps today.

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