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!


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.


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).


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, March 23

Stuck in the Middle - "Stuck in a Mysterious Robbery" (Disney Channel, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When the Bait N' Bite is robbed, the Diaz children use their resources to track down the culprit.

Bizaardvark - "Amelia's Perfectly Imperfect Volleyball Adventure" (Disney Channel, 8:30PM ET/PT)
After Paige convinces the volleyball coach to put Amelia on the team, the DIY diva's ego lands the volleyball team in a match against the state champions.

The Paynes - "Payneful Repairs" (OWN, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Curtis and Ella learn some troubling news about Nyla.

Complete TV Listings

Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 19)

Friday, March 23

  • Jim Jefferies (Legit) - Watch Jim on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Ricky Gervais (The Office) - Ricky is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Jenna Fischer (Splitting Up Together/The Office) and Oliver Hudson (Splitting Up Together/Rules of Engagement) - Jenna and Oliver chat with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT. They will also be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and the BUILd Series at 2:30pm.
  • Jamie Lee (Crashing) - Jamie appears on a repeat of Harry, so check your local listings.
  • Boris Kodjoe (The Last Man on Earth/Second Time Around) and Nicole Ari Parker (Second Time Around) - Boris and Nicole are guests on Steve, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Saved by the Bell/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani stops by Access Live, so check your local listings. She shares her recipe for spiked hot chocolate on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Zach Braff (Alex, Inc./Scrubs) - Zach appears on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.
  • Jay Pharoah (White Famous) - Jay creates something delicious with Carla Hall on ABC's The Chew at 1pm ET/12pm PT/CT.
  • Mark Hamill (The Texas Wheelers) - Mark will be on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am. He can also be heard on The Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM.
  • Bella Thorne (Shake It Up) - Bella talks about Midnight Sun on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.