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NBC announced today that the characters of its acclaimed comedy “Community” (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET) will be immortalized as puppets in an episode airing in April. In the episode, the study group takes a wild balloon ride that crash-lands in the woods and they end up spending a little time with a friendly mountain man (award winner Jason Alexander, “Seinfeld”). The announcement was made at this evening’s PaleyFest panel presentation for “Community” in Beverly Hills, sponsored by the Paley Center for Media.

As the study group recounts their adventures in the woods, which has left them all feeling a little awkward with one another, Dean Pelton (Jim Rash) encourages them to speak about their experience with the use of puppets. The puppets include characters Jeff (Joel McHale), Pierce (Chevy Chase), Britta (Gillian Jacobs), Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), Abed (Danny Pudi), Annie (Alison Brie), Troy (Donald Glover) and Chang (Ken Jeong).

Guest star Alexander is well known to audiences for his portrayal of George Costanza on NBC’s hit comedy series “Seinfeld,” a role that earned him six Emmy Award nominations and four Golden Globe Award nominations, along with an American Television award and two American Comedy Awards. In addition, the Screen Actors Guild knighted him “Best Actor in a Comedy Series” and TV Guide readers voted him among the10 greatest television characters of all time. Beyond “Seinfeld,” Alexander’s career has included memorable Broadway shows including Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along” and Jerome Robbins’ “Broadway,” which won him the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Tony Award.

The felt and foam puppets are manufactured by Scott Johnson and Drew Massey, who most recently worked on “Warren the Ape” for MTV and “Muppets Wizard of Oz” for the Jim Henson Company.

The critically hailed "Community" is a smart, exuberant half-hour comedy series about a tight-knit study group at Greendale Community College. At the center of the group is Jeff Winger (McHale, “The Soup”), a fast-talking lawyer whose degree has been revoked. With some help from his fellow classmates, Winger forms a study group who eventually learn more about themselves than their course work. The series was created by Dan Harmon ("The Sarah Silverman Program") who serves as executive consultant. Russ Krasnoff ("The Soloist") is executive producer, along with Gary Foster (“Sleepless in Seattle”), Moses Port and David Guarascio (“Happy Endings”). Tristram Shapeero (“Nurse Jackie”) is executive producer/director. The series is a Krasnoff Foster Entertainment production, in association with Universal Television and Sony Pictures Television.

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