[T]he key fact about Outsourced is that it’s taking the spot that would normally have gone to Parks & Recreation, forcing that show to be delayed until mid-season. NBC was considering opening up another night of comedy; when they chose to make Thursday their only comedy night (including Love Bites, a new hour-long show that’s a hybrid of comedy and anthology — basically, The Love Boat on land), that left them with the choice between keeping the 8 to 10 period more or less as it was, or bumping an already-renewed show to make room for a new one. They chose the latter, and the show they decided to bump was Parks. The show has already — presumably in anticipation of Amy Poehler’s pregnancy — shot some episodes for its third season, so it will go on a short production hiatus and then resume production for mid-season. How long the new season turns out to be depends on how soon Outsourced gets canceled.
Parks has probably been, overall, the best of NBC’s four comedies this season; Community has had great individual episodes, and I haven’t been as disappointed with The Office as some (but then, that’s the only show in that group that I have loved without reservation, so I can forgive it a lot), but Parks not only made the expected second-season improvement, it ruthlessly weeded out all the faults of its first season, learned to do things that no other current show was doing — the mix of small-town comedy with political and media satire recalls Newhart, but no recent U.S. show — and maximized the strengths of most of its performers and characters. Greg Daniels is good at making his shows a lot better really quickly; his shows have a wonderful combination of artistry and efficiency, like he’s figured out the secret of producing great, personal television art in a businesslike way.