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Why Is Parks and Recreation Still Gone?! Show Boss Talks Delayed Return & When to Expect Season Three

PARKS AND RECREATION Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Sigh. Another dark, dank Thursday is upon us. And a night that was once filled with Amy Poehler's bright blond locks and Nick Offerman's manly-man 'stache is now, well, not.

But fret not, because Parks and Recreation's show runner Mike Schur (Mose!) tells us a return date is expected soon...

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So when will Parks and Recreation be back on the air. C'mon, Mike, you can tell us!
It's pretty safe to say that the show will be on in January or February. We've been given every indication that the show is coming on soon, [but] we really don't know when we're returning yet. My gut says we're going to know something [from NBC] within the next few days.

What happened back in May? Were you surprised to find out Parks and Recreation was not on the fall lineup?
The situation was that Amy had gotten pregnant and if we want to be on the air in September, we have to finish season two and just roll right into season three. It was a lot to ask of a very tired cast and production staff, but we didn't really have a choice. NBC was very responsive and said absolutely, we're just picking the show up right now for season three so you guys can get started. So instead of winding down, we geared right back up.

It was while we were shooting around the fourth episode we found out we weren't going to be on in September. It was a little bit ironic because we were all hustling, doing this Herculean task to get ready to be on the air, and it was all for naught. It was definitely a surprise and very disappointing, but it's not something we can control. We've always felt like the best advertisement for our show is the actual show itself—our only goal is to make this show good.

Do you worry that having a hiatus going into the third season will throw a kink in the momentum the show had clearly gained throughout season two?
We really feel like we figured some stuff out toward the end of the first season and in the beginning of the second season, and I was very happy with the creative direction of the show. Everybody really seemed to gel last year. But of course, any time you're not on the air, you run the risk of people forgetting about you; that's the sad thing about the midseason show. The first chunk of episodes we made way back when is really strong and really funny, and hopefully the reviews will be good and that will help offset the lengthy time we haven't been around.

How many episodes do you have in the can?
We're currently shooting our 12th or 13th episode of season three, and it's a very odd situation to be in. We will have made 16 episodes before any of them have aired. But as long as they eventually get on the air and people get to see them, I'll be happy.

And now the biggie: Freshman series Outsourced has now been picked up for a full season and is currently a part of NBC's Thursday-night lineup. Are your hopes that room will be made for Parks and Recreation to return the lineup, as well?
It's very, very hard to make a TV show that actually airs and people watch, so I would never say I'm rooting for the demise of anything. My personal feeling is that the people who created Parks and Recreation are the same people who created The Office, and we've always believed that the recipes we've used to cook up these characters are similar. It was designed as a companion piece. It's a completely different show, but the DNA is similar. And we've always felt that the people who watch this show would watch The Office. I have no idea what NBC's long- or short-term plan is, but that's where we've always wished we could have been.

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We checked in with a P-Rex rep about the return date after chatting with Mike, and sadly, it is still up in the air. But sit tight, because it sounds like we'll know something very soon.

Are you hoping Parks and Recreation returns sooner than later? Do you agree that it belongs alongside The Office, 30 Rock and Community? Let us know!

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