As the enduringly popular series prepares to bow out Thursday with an hour-long finale, the question is raised anew: Will viewers, awash in such creatively bold and sophisticated players as Atlanta and Veep, accept another traditional sitcom? Discounting the resurrection of Will & Grace and Roseanne-turned The Connors, can the old-school formula score the new hits it needs to survive?
Sitcoms, by and large, are stupid. But they don’t have to be. Jerrod Carmichael, with his new NBC comedy tackling topics from religion to Black Lives Matter, could change everything.
There are nine dramas among the top 20 programs on broadcast, and only six comedies. Most of this season’s biggest bombs are sitcoms, such as Manhattan Love Story. This season comedies have struggled, and it is hard to imagine the networks keeping all the comedy blocks currently on the schedule for next season.
There’s a backstage drama happening this fall on TV, and it’s all about comedy. The major networks are in a sitcom slump, unable to generate the kind of magic found in shows like Seinfeld, Friends and The Big Bang Theory. The major networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — are not giving up as the fall season kicks off this week, rolling out 18 new comedies that will seek to mine laughs from romantic entanglements and family dynamics.
TV critics and media analysts say only a few of the sitcoms premiering this fall have real potential to become primetime hits and stick around long enough to feed the off-net syndication pipeline and generate big profits for studios, cable networks and TV stations alike. Among the few good prospects is ABC’s Black-ish.
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The look and feel of a primetime sitcom greatly depends on two basic delivery systems. Multi-cam: filmed or taped in a single night before a live studio audience, with laugh track “sweeteners” deployed when deemed necessary. The humor tends to be broader. Single-cam: filmed in separate stages out of sight of a studio audience. Laugh tracks are very seldom included. The humor tends to be lower-key and perhaps more “natural.” Entertainment bosses at CBS and NBC discuss why they do the things they do on the comedy series front.
Ed Martin: “One of the big stories during the 2013-14 “traditional” broadcast season has been the uncertain future (or “death” in some circles) of the network sitcom. I have to wonder what all the hand-wringing is about.”
Lionsgate says it wants to ramp up its 10/90 model for comedy production on the heels of its recent success with the Charlie Sheen-starring Anger Management. A George Lopez show is moving toward launch, while Lionsgate confirmed Tuesday a series featuring an “odd couple pairing” of Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer is in development.
With 30 Rock leaving the air, the sitcom again finds itself at a crossroads. Though acclaimed and award-winning, 30 Rock was never highly rated. Its end heralds a sitcom shift, particularly in NBC’s long-running Thursday night block. Both Parks and Recreation and Community have cloudy futures, and the long-running The Office will finally end soon. Elsewhere, CBS’s How I Met Your Mother, a studio audience vestige, is preparing its final season. But there are actually quite a lot of broadcast sitcoms running now, including The Big Bang Theory, Whitney, Happy Endings, 2 Broke Girls, The Mindy Project and the recently premiered and somewhat promising White House farce 1600 Penn.
NEW YORK (AP) — TV Land says it has cast “Seinfeld” star Michael Richards in a pilot for a prospective new sitcom. The series, “Giant Baby,” also would feature fellow “Cheers” alums Kirstie Alley and Rhea Perlman. TV Land said Tuesday the pilot will be taped next week. “Giant Baby” focuses on Broadway star Maddie […]
In part due to the success of The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, TV networks are banking on a full slate of new comedies this fall and the return of other sitcoms.
After years of dramas and reality shows, television’s pendulum appears to be swinging toward the laugh track.