Friday, January 12, 2018

Fri-Yay: What Does the Future Hold for Fox Sitcoms?; TCA 2018 Winter Press Tour: TBS and HBO

It's time for another edition of Fri-Yay! That means we will take a look back on some sitcom happenings in recent days or weeks or other fun sitcomy stuff. It's a sitcom lover's paradise! Happy Fri-Yay!

Fox

by Vincent

As you may have heard, Disney has recently acquired 20th Century Fox studios. While the Fox network itself will not be owned by Disney, the change in ownership is likely to have a huge effect on the network's programming - most of the channel's programs are owned by 20th Century Fox studios, which now is no longer part of the same corporation as the network itself. In simpler terms, Disney now owns the large majority of Fox's programming, and has the ability to move their shows around to one of the networks they actually own, rather than leaving them on Fox.

So what does this mean for Fox's current comedy line-up? In this week's article, I'll look at each veteran Fox sitcom and try to determine what its future could possibly hold in the murky Fox/Disney situation.

The Simpsons - The crown jewel of Fox's comedy line-up has always been its animated comedies, and The Simpsons is the centerpiece of that line-up - it started the line-up and still remains the highest-rated show (and therefore, Fox's highest-rated comedy.) And yet, The Simpsons is owned by 20th Century Fox - and is therefore now a Disney property. Yes, Bart Simpson is now a Disney character. As weird as it sounds, I'm sure Disney is thrilled to have the cash cow that is The Simpsons as part of their line-up, but most of the profit from the series at this point is coming from merchandising, streaming, and syndication. In the past ten years, The Simpsons has found itself in danger of cancellation several times due to the skyrocketing cost of its voice actors. Given that the show is getting close to its 30th season and that it no longer sees its merchandising and syndication revenue, I wouldn't be surprised to see Fox pull the plug on new episodes of the series as Disney moves its back-end to Hulu (which it now majority owns.)

Family Guy - Seth MacFarlane himself has voiced concern over the fact that the foul-mouthed adult cartoon Family Guy is now a Disney property, but Disney has apparently assured him that its values the series and won't be molding it to fit Disney's family-friendly reputation. As for Fox, although the series is aging and has sagged in the ratings since its heyday in the mid-late 2000s, it still remains a strong player and launching pad - my guess is it'll stick around the line-up for a whole.

Bob's Burgers - Bob's Burgers has slowly but steadily seen itself rise from low-rated underdog to cult favorite, and it's finally showing in the series' ratings, which have beaten and tied The Simpsons and Family Guy on several occasions this year. Reruns on Adult Swim are also doing incredibly well, so Disney is probably happy to acquire the Belchers into their vault. I could even see Disney taking advantage of Bob's cult status and moving it to one of their own networks, although perhaps Fox has noticed Bob's momentum and wants to keep it around to replace The Simpsons as the network's crown jewel.

The Last Man on Earth - Although Last Man started its life as a buzzy ratings hit, its audience has slowly eroded over the course of its run. It's owned by 20th Fox, and its ratings have skirted on truly terrible this season - if there's any show that could get lost in the Disney/Fox merger, it's this one.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Brooklyn 99 is another once well-rated series that has seen its audience collapse over the past year or so. However, Brooklyn 99 is not owned by 20th Century, but by NBCUniversal. If a lot of 20th Century productions wind up leaving Fox this year, it's possible to see them wanting to keep Brooklyn around to fill some gaps even with its low ratings. It's also possible NBCUniversal will try the show on another network - perhaps TBS, which has successfully acquired network comedies before (Cougar Town, American Dad!) and premiered the show in syndication this month.

The Mick - The Mick was a surprise success last year, but has struggled to keep up the momentum in its sophomore season. It's another 20th Century Fox production, so it's questionable whether or not Disney will see the need to expand on a show with middling ratings.

Those are just my guesses - obviously I'm no industry insider, but based on the shows' ratings and ownership, I think some guesses could be made about where the shows are headed. Either way, it'll certainly be interesting to see where everything ends up when this Disney/Fox merger is all said and done.


TBS

The cable portion of the TCA 2018 Winter Press Tour has begun. Among the networks that have presented so far includes TBS. TBS gets animated on Monday nights starting with American Dad! returning to TBS on Monday, February 12 at 10pm ET/ PT with 22 new episodes. In addition, the network has ordered two more seasons of the top-rated animated hit American Dad!. The series premiered on the Fox broadcasting network in 2005 before moving to TBS in 2014. Then, on Monday, February 26, TBS will debut the new animated intergalactic space saga Final Space on at 10:30pm PT/ ET immediately following American Dad! for an hour-long animation block. Olan Rogers stars in the animated series alongside Fred Armisen, Tom Kenny, David Tennant, Tika Sumpter, Steven Yeun and Coty Galloway.

Comedy superstar and multiple Emmy® nominee Tracy Morgan returns to television with TBS starring in The Last O.G., a new comedy series that he executive produces alongside creator and executive producer Jordan Peele. Beginning April 3, episodes will air Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The Last O.G. centers on Tray (Morgan), an ex-con shocked to see just how much the world has changed when he is released from prison for on good behavior after a 15-year stint. Returning to his newly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhood, he discovers that his former girlfriend, Shay (played by emerging, breakout star actress and comedian Tiffany Haddish), has married an affable, successful white man (Ryan Gaul) who is helping raise the twins (Taylor Mosby & Dante Hoagland) Tray never knew existed. Wanting nothing more than to connect with his kids, but having neither the money to support them nor himself, Tray falls back on the skills he learned in prison to make ends meet while treading on unfamiliar territory. The Last O.G. also stars Cedric the Entertainer as the head of the halfway house where Tray is staying, and Allen Maldonado as Tray's cousin Bobby, who helps him adjust to life on the outside.

Elsewhere at TBS, they have renewed the hit unscripted series Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker's Wild and Drop the Mic for second seasons. And television's fastest growing late night show and ad supported television's #1 late night show among young adults has been renewed for two new seasons by TBS. The Emmy Award-winning Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will return Wednesday, February 7 in its usual timeslot at 10:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

HBO

Among HBO's announcements was the dark comedy series Barry, starring Bill Hader, kicks off its eight-episode season Sunday, March 25 at 10:30pm ET/PT on HBO. Alec Berg (HBO's Silicon Valley) and Hader (Saturday Night Live) serve as co-creators, executive producers, directors and writers. Other cast regulars include Stephen Root (HBO's All the Way), Sarah Goldberg (Hindsight), Glenn Fleshler (HBO's True Detective), Anthony Carrigan (Gotham) and Henry Winkler (Arrested Development). Barry is a dark comedy starring Bill Hader in the title role of a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest who falls in love with acting while on a job in LA. Barry's handler, Fuches (Stephen Root), hires him out to the violent Chechen mob in Los Angeles, led by Goran Pazar (Glenn Fleshler) and his right-hand man, Noho Hank (Anthony Carrigan).


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Friday, February 22

Fresh Off the Boat - "Be a Man" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Jessica drives Principal Hunter crazy at Evan’s school when she declares that she’s “shadow principal” and follows him around for a day to learn about his job. When she finds out perfect son Evan has been caught acting out, she immediately blames Eddie’s bad influence, but there’s more to it than that. Louis, having watched one too many episodes of “The Sopranos” with Honey, is convinced that Marvin and Grandma are gossiping about him behind his back after Marvin offers to trap the rat that has invaded Grandma’s apartment.

Speechless - "G-A-- GAME N-I-- NIGHT" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Maya insists that it’s time to meet Izzy, a reluctant JJ arranges a game night for his family and new girlfriend. Ray tries to help on the big night, but his attention to detail puts a major crimp in JJ’s evening. Meanwhile, Dylan and Kenneth let their appetites get the better of them.

Last Man Standing - "Arrest Her Development" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Vanessa "helps" Mandy and Kyle look for an apartment; Mike is thrilled by Ryan's decisions.

The Cool Kids - "Sid's First Relationship" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The gang comes together around Sid in order to help him overcome the commitment issues he struggles with his new beau, John; Margaret decides to become an airport volunteer in the hopes of conquering her strong fear of flying.

Andi Mack - "The Ex Factor" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Andi, Buffy and Cyrus worry about Jonah's unusual behavior; Miranda tries to cause problems for Bowie and Bex.

Sydney to the Max - "Adventures in Babe-Sitting" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sydney and Olive struggle with their baby-sitting business when the child they are hired to watch happens to be the brother of one of the most popular kids in their class.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 18

Friday, February 22

  • Don Cheadle (Black Monday/House of Lies/The Golden Palace) - Watch Don on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Will Forte (The Last Man on Earth) - Will appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Thomas Lennon (The Odd Couple/Sean Saves the World) - Thomas is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Rita Moreno (One Day at a Time/Happily Divorced/9 to 5) - Rita stops by LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Wanda visits The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Finesse Mitchell (A.N.T. Farm) - Finesse is a panelist on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about When Calls the Heart on People Now at 12pm.
  • Jay Baruchel (Man Seeking Woman/Undeclared) - Jay is a guest on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Ken Jeong (Dr. Ken/Community) - Ken talks about You Complete Me, Ho on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For your Love) - Holly appears on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
  • Autumn Reeser (Complete Savages) - Autumn drops by Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (January/February)

Fuller House - The Complete Third Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season The Game - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season

01/08 - Family Guy - 20 Greatest Hits
01/22 - Fuller House - The Complete Third Season
01/22 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fourth Season (WBShop.com)
01/29 - Ballers - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
01/29 - Crashing - The Complete Second Season
01/29 - The Game - The Complete Series
01/29 - Kidding - Season One
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 1 - Volumes 1-5
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 2 - Volumes 6-10
02/05 - Family Guy - Part 3 - Seasons 10-14
02/05 - First Lady of Television - Betty White Collection (40 rare and acclaimed episodes from her early days in television)
02/05 - Mama's Family - Seasons 1-6 - The Complete Series
02/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-3 (Blu-ray)
02/12 - Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season
02/26 - What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest