Rashida Jones Reveals How Poorly NBC Treated ‘Parks and Recreation’


Parks and Recreation, the popular NBC sitcom starring Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Rob Lowe, and Nick Offerman that ran from 2009 to 2015, “never succeeded” in the ratings and was always on the verge of cancellation, Jones revealed this week.

Despite the show’s resurgence amid streaming availability years after its last episode, Jones revealed that, at the time of filming the series, it wasn’t a hit—by a long shot. “[Parks and Recreation] is kind of iconic now—It’s like one of those great comedies of that time, which is so awesome,” Jones said in a new episode of the Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast released on Monday, “But we didn't feel that way.”

“Every single season, we were like, this is it. They’re not gonna want us back,” she continued. “At one point we were canceled and then the president of NBC got off the plane and changed his mind. It was like, ‘Eh, don’t cancel it yet, I guess.’ It was not really a thing at all.”

The show would launch the careers of its cast members, despite the lackluster excitement about it from its host network. Plaza, Pratt, Offerman, and Scott enjoyed mondo-success after its wrap—but no one expected that type of success at the time, Jones explained.

When it came to ratings, Jones shared, “We never succeeded there,” which kept everyone involved on their toes throughout the show’s seven season run. “The whole time we were just holding on for dear life, hoping we got to do more,” she added. “Which is probably part of why it was so good—because there was no stardom. It wasn't infiltrated by any outside feelings about us. People kind of liked us if they knew who we were.”

Things are way different now, she said, since the show’s been rediscovered by streaming audiences, like so many others. “I think it was five years ago, we went to the Dolby and we did a 10th anniversary thing where we all came out, the whole cast,” she recalled. “The reception was so—I felt like the Beatles, it was so nuts.”

“People were screaming so loud [and] we were all crying, because we had never been in a room where anybody cared.”

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