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

Tuesday, January 16

The Middle - "Mommapalooza" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Frankie decides that she needs to find something new that she’s passionate about – life’s third act – and Reverend TimTom offers the perfect solution. Meanwhile, tired of hearing Sue and Brick argue because of the giant hole between their bedroom walls, Mike orders them to fix it; and after Axl refuses to let rich girlfriend Lexie pay for some extravagant outings, Lexie finds a way to fool him into thinking he’s becoming lucky when money and other high priced items suddenly make their way into his hands.

Fresh Off the Boat - "The Car Wash" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
With Jessica’s career as an author taking off, Louis worries that she is losing interest in him and attempts to rekindle the flame under Marvin’s guidance. Evan skips his way into Emery’s seventh grade English class with a particularly hard-to-please teacher, Ms. Doris (Tig Notaro). When neither can win her over, they seek advice from an unusual source.

black-ish - "Bow Knows" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Dre is selected to run point on a campaign that focuses on “The Talk,” which refers to the conversations that Black parents have with their children through the decades to prepare them for the racial bias they may face in the world. Meanwhile, Bow finds an online group of women that she leans on for advice and support.

Modern Family - "Sex, Lies & Kickball" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Jay’s best friend, Shorty, is back from Costa Rica and stays at the house so they can catch up and reconnect. However, Shorty is spending more time with Gloria and seems to be avoiding Jay. Meanwhile, Alex is ready to shed her good-girl image and is going to prove to Claire that her relationship with Ben is definitely a sexual relationship.

LA to Vegas - "Two and a Half Pilots" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
While Capt. Dave is absent, his staunch rival is given the responsibility of covering the flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas; Artem and Nichole decide to assist Colin while he plans a special birthday party for his son.

The Mick - "The City" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
While Mickey and the gang visit New York City, they learn that Jimmy has become quite successful at an investment firm, but Mickey tries convincing the firm's partners to give him a promotion; Chip goes to see his biological father.

Teachers - "Labor Pains" (TV Land, 10:00PM ET/PT)
After Mrs. Adler announces she’s pregnant, we’re taken back in time to the 1940s, where the women of Fillmore fight for better treatment at work.

K.C. Undercover - "Revenge of the Van People" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Ernie hosts a group of young international agents while KC is away on a mission.

The Paynes - "A Surprise for the Paynes" (OWN, 10:00PM ET/PT)
Curtis and the rest of the Payne family take a road trip to Florida where Ella receives a stunning surprise.

The Paynes - "Revelations of Paynes" (OWN, 13:00PM ET/PT)
Ella fumes after Curtis makes a life-changing decision without her input; Curtis discovers that he was duped into a bad investment.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 15)

Tuesday, January 16

  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Catch Kristen on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Tracy Letts (Divorce) - Tracy appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Esther Povitsky (Alone Together) - Esther is a guest on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Molly Shannon (Divorce/Kath & Kim/Cracking Up) - Molly visits Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Rob Riggle (Golan the Insatiable/Gary Unmarried) - Rob guest co-hosts The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Mike Epps (Survivor's Remorse/Uncle Buck) - Mike talks about the BET Social Awards on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Jackée Harry (The Paynes/The First Family/The Game/227) - Jackée talks about OWN's The Paynes on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Jamie Lee (Crashing) - Jamie is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
  • John Lithgow (Trial & Error/Twenty Good Years/3rd Rock from the Sun) - John talks about Broadway's Stories By Heart on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On) - Clinton Kelly cooks with Laura on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie/Malibu Country) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie) - Lily and Jane talk about Grace and Frankie on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November/December/January)

The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season Living Single - The Complete Third Season Alice - The Complete Sixth Season One Day at a Time - The Complete Series Fuller House - The Complete Second Season

11/07 - American Dad! - Volume 12
11/07 - Family Guy - Season Fifteen
11/07 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Third Season
11/14 - D.C. Follies - The Complete Series
11/21 - Living Single - The Complete Third Season
11/24 - Grandfathered - Season 1
12/05 - Alice - The Complete Sixth Season
12/05 - One Day at a Time - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Simpsons - The Eighteenth Season
12/05 - South Park - The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
12/12 - Fuller House - The Complete Second Season
12/19 - South Park - The Complete Sixth Season (Blu-ray) / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11
01/09 - Girlfriends - The Complete Series
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest