'Parks and Recreation' to get back-to-back episodes for final season

"Parks and Recreation's" seventh and final season will begin on Jan. 13. It will have its series finale on Feb. 24.

But wait, you say, that's just seven weeks. And the final season order was for 13 episodes!

Don't panic. All episodes will air, but NBC is giving "Parks and Rec" a rather unique send-off. While some channels attempt to stretch their critical hits out for as long as possible (witness AMC's two-part, years apart final seasons for "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men"), NBC is compressing this final season, airing two back-to-back episodes of the Amy Poehler comedy until the hourlong series finale in late February.

It's been a critical and cult hit, but "Parks and Rec" has never been a ratings monster the way "The Office" was. So that may help explain why the series' final season is getting such a compressed send-off.

"In an effort to give it the send-off it deserves, we wanted to 'eventize' the final season to maximize the impact of these episodes, which really do take the show to a new level," NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement.
The network is also airing the series finale after NBC's reality singing competition hit "The Voice" in an attempt to give it the most exposure it can.

The final season of the comedy, which has chronicled life in small town Midwestern government, will be unique in that it will take place in the near-future of 2017. It may also benefit from the increasing fanbase of co-star Chris Pratt, who starred in the year's biggest box office hit, "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Twitter: @patrickkevinday