Longtime studio exec Chet Dave has been promoted to head the studio’s comedy division. He replaces Cheryl Dolins, who left the studio in December. Dave, who will hold the SVP comedy development title, will report to EVP Development Carolyn Cassidy.
NBC Co-President of Scripted Programming Tracey Pakosta is leaving the broadcast network to join Netflix as head of comedy, reporting to Global TV head Bela Bajaria. Pakosta will oversee both development and current programming for Netflix’s slate of scripted comedy series including adult animation and live-action family comedies.
The state of network comedy is pretty bleak. The only network that’s creatively thriving is ABC. The alphabet network has been building a recognizable, intelligent and scaleable comedy brand since Modern Family premiered in 2009; and in 2016 that brand reached maturity with shows like American Housewife and Speechless (above).
NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke made a case for her network’s redefined comedy brand and teased its upcoming digital streaming plans to compete with ABC and CBS All Access. Salke used her time on a New Voices in Primetime Comedy panel late Friday at SeriesFest in Denver to touch on diversity and competition from cable and streaming platforms as well as NBC’s reworked comedy brand.
Comedy may still be a desired staple of primetime TV, but broadcasters haven’t found much to laugh about for the upcoming season.
NBCUniversal is preparing to launch a subscription digital comedy service aimed at millennial viewers who watch hours of entertainment on digital devices rather than the old-school TV. NBC’s proposed over-the-top service is expected to launch later this year, according to two executives familiar with the plans
TV networks working on next season’s new shows still are prepping plenty of CIA and FBI agents, hospital staffs and supernatural doings. But what they really want is comedy: 46 of them, a recent record, are vying for slots on the four major networks, all of which hope to increase the number of half-hour sitcoms they air next season.
Reality competition shows look close to the saturation point, while comedy is becoming more popular, as the new broadcast season unfurls. Among the big winners is the rejiggered Two and a Half Men on CBS, which pulled in 26 million viewers when it premiered, and the big Emmy winner Modern Family, on ABC.