Friday, May 18, 2018

Fri-Yay: How Did Sitcoms Fare at the Upfronts?

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

ABC
Renewed: Roseanne, Modern Family, The Goldbergs, black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, Speechless, American Housewife, Splitting Up Together
Cancelled: The Middle (ending), Alex Inc, The Mayor
New Sitcoms: The Kids Are All Right, Single Parents, Schooled (mid-season)

ABC's strong roster of sitcoms remains almost entirely in tact, with only freshman series Alex Inc and The Mayor getting the ax, while The Middle ends its nine-year run with a planned series finale this spring (airing this coming Tuesday night). This comes as no surprise. ABC has the strongest roster of sitcoms on all of the big 4 networks, and its line-up also has significantly more depth than any other network's sitcom roster- no other network can say they seven sitcoms that have reliably performed well for them. The network's drama slate, however, is far less sturdy, so ABC has wisely expanded its comedy block to a third night - Speechless and Fresh Off the Boat will move to Friday nights, reinstating a comedy block there just a year after the network blew it up by cancelling Last Man Standing and Dr. Ken. Some may see this as a downgrade for Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless, but comedy has done well on Fridays on ABC in the past, so fans shouldn't see this as a death knell. That said, both of these shows have generally been "bottom-of-the-hour" performers with decent-but-not-stellar audience retention from their anchors, so it will be interesting to see how they do on an island on Fridays.

The Tuesday and Wednesday blocks are fairly similar to what they were this spring. Roseanne gets its 8 PM Tuesday slot back and leads into new comedy The Kids Are Alright (pretty much the best timeslot you can ask for as a new sitcom), while the black-ish/Splitting Up Together hour remains in tact at 9 PM. On Wednesday, The Goldbergs and Modern Family remain the 8 and 9 PM anchors, respectively, while American Housewife shifts up to 8:30 and newbie Single Parents gets the 9:30 slot. With so many hours devoted to sitcoms and plum timeslots for their freshman comedies, it's clear ABC is going big on sitcoms next year - and they have good reason to.

CBS
Renewed: The Big Bang Theory, Young Sheldon, Mom, Life in Pieces, Man With a Plan
Cancelled: Kevin Can Wait, Superior Donuts, Living Biblically, Me Myself & I
New Sitcoms: Murphy Brown (revival), The Neighborhood, Happy Together, Fam (midseason)

CBS had a rather mixed year in the sitcoms department. While The Big Bang Theory remained huge and spin-off Young Sheldon had a big debut season, the network saw its Monday sitcom line-up completely deteriorate, with all four shows struggling to even hit a 1.0 in the 18-49 demo for most of the season. The network responded by cancelling the entire block with the exception of Man With a Plan (which was somewhat surprising, given that Kevin Can Wait was generally the block's highest performer), cutting half of the block and slotting in two new sitcoms, The Neighborhood and Happy Together, in the only two slots that remained. Leading off a night with two untested new sitcoms is a big gamble, especially when those sitcoms don't have any particular buzz around them. The network does have Life in Pieces and Man With a Plan left unscheduled, perhaps as emergency back-ups if either of those sitcoms fail. Even more interesting is that the previously announced Murphy Brown revival has been buried to 9:30pm on Thursdays rather than used as an anchor, showing that CBS doesn't seem to have faith it can be a Roseanne or even a Will & Grace-sized player. CBS's sitcom block had a lot of uncertainty this year, and that continues into its 2018-2019 line-up.

NBC
Renewed: Will & Grace, Superstore, The Good Place, AP Bio, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (acquired from Fox)
Cancelled: Great News
Fate TBD: Champions
New Sitcoms: I Feel Bad, Abby's (midseason)

NBC's return to its "Must See TV" comedy block on Thursdays went pretty decently this year, even if the Will & Grace revival couldn't keep up its early momentum and shows like Champions and Great News hit some cringe-worthy numbers. The network has a solid pairing in Superstore and The Good Place, and hopes to keep that brand of comedy going with Michael Schur-produced Abby's and the newly acquired Brooklyn Nine-Nine midseason. Amy Poehler-produced I Feel Bad gets the post-Will & Grace slot in the fall, and NBC hopes it will find more of an audience than its freshman comedies this season did, even if AP Bio mananged to squeak out a second season that its ratings didn't exactly call for. NBC still has a long ways to go before they relive their Must See TV sitcom glory days, but it certainly has the building blocks of a solid comedy roster, which is why the acquisition of studio-owned Brooklyn Nine-Nine makes perfect sense and should be a good fit with its sitcom block.

Fox
Renewed: The Simpsons, Family Guy, Bob's Burgers
Cancelled: Brooklyn Nine-Nine (moving to NBC), New Girl (ending), The Last Man on Earth, The Mick
Fate TBD: Ghosted, LA to Vegas
New Series: The Cool Kids, Rel, Last Man Standing (revival)

If ABC has banked on sitcoms next season, Fox has done exactly the opposite, wiping its entire live-action sitcom slate clean (unless Ghosted or LA to Vegas manage to pull through) and renewing only its animated anchors. After Fox cancelled all of its veteran sitcoms and revived Last Man Standing, there was a lot of chatter about the network's new direction and how its sitcom slate would likely favor broad, conservative-friendly comedy like Last Man Standing. That didn't really happen - yes, the Last Man Standing/Cool Kids block kind of looks like that, but it's relegated to Friday nights, the network's lone live-action sitcom block. This does make sense given that Last Man Standing spent most of its ABC run on Friday nights and did fairly well there, but it's still a bit of a surprise after all of the buzz around the revival. The network's only other new sitcom other than The Cool Kids is Rel, which doesn't even get the plum post-Simpsons slot and instead gets shafted to 9:30. The post-Simpsons slot instead goes to Bob's Burgers, which is an interesting move - given that The Simpsons and Family Guy are aging while Bob's Burgers has steadily been gaining momentum, is it possible they're prepping Bob's to be their new animated anchor? Regardless, this line-up certainly shows just how little confidence Fox has in its comedy brand right now, and it certainly screams "this is a network going through a major conglomerate change."

So, once again, the future of sitcoms largely depends on what network you're watching. Nevertheless, there's certainly a lot of sitcoms to look forward to next fall, both new and returning series alike. It'll be interesting to see how the networks' line-ups fare, but we'll have to wait until the fall to see what happens!


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Monday, April 22

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Conversation" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Dave is thrilled when Calvin invites him golfing, confident that it represents progress in their relationship, but Calvin may have another motive. Also, Gemma and Tina team up to pull off an unforgettable surprise for Malcolm, Marty and Grover.

Man with a Plan - "Cabin Fever" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
When Adam accidentally invites Andi on the annual guys’ trip, he tries to un-invite her, which only makes matters worse.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

Monday, April 22

  • Nathan Lane (Charlie Lawrence/Encore! Encore!) - Watch Nathan The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:34pm on NBC.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Courteney Cox (Cougar Town/Friends/Family Ties) - Courteney is a guest on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Nick Kroll (Big Mouth/The League/Cavemen) - Nick appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Natalie Morales (Abby's) - Natalie is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Dax visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Navia Robinson (Raven's Home) - Navia stops by The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott talks about Whiskey Cavalier on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/One Day at a Time) - Valerie will be on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Jane Lynch (Angel from Hell) - Jane talks about NBC's Red Nose Day on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and 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.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

Step by Step - The Complete Fourth Season What I Like About You - The Complete Fourth Season Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season Alice - The Complete Ninth Season The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season

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
03/05 - Hangin' with Mr. Cooper - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
03/12 - Alice - The Complete Ninth Season (WBShop.com)
03/26 - The Wayans Bros. - The Complete Fifth Season (WBShop.com)
04/02 - Archer: Danger Island - The Complete Season Nine
04/09 - You're the Worst - The Complete Fifth Season
04/12 - Evening Shade - The Complete Collection
04/16 - The Big C - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

04/22 - Last Man Standing Renewed for Season 8; NBC Moves Tuesday Series Timeslots
04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2019)
04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Early Look at 2019-2020 Pilots; Fox Cancels Rel
04/19 - Fri-Yay: Can One Day at a Time Be Saved?; ABC Honors All in the Family and The Jeffersons For One-Night Only and It's LIVE!
04/18 - Netflix Gets More Original Comedies Including Mike Myers Series; The CW Summer 2019 Schedule
04/17 - Archer: 1999 Launches May 29; Hulu Gets More Aidy Bryant
04/16 - Remembering Georgia Engel of The Mary Tyler Moore Show; BET Gets Another Comedy Series
04/15 - ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Bless This Mess - Premieres Tuesday (April 16); Hallmark Picks Up 7th Season of When Calls the Heart
04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2019) 04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Disney Announces New Streaming Service Including Every Episode of The Simpsons; NCIS Gets Renewal from CBS
04/12 - Fri-Yay: Why NBC's Abby's Deserves a Chance; Netflix Orders Adult Animated Comedy Q-Force
04/11 - ABC Summer 2019 Schedule; HBO Renews Barry for 3rd Season
04/10 - Younger Stays on TV Land for Season 6; ABC Gets Game Show from Ryan Reynolds
04/09 - Joel McHale Set for Card Sharks on ABC; Christine Lakin to Guest Star on American Housewife
04/08 - MeTV Presents Rarely Seen Carol Burnett Show Episodes; Sherri Shepherd to Host GSN Trivia Series
04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2019)
04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could One Day at a Time Move From Netflix to a Linear Network?; Adam Sandler to Host SNL in May
04/05 - Fri-Yay: You’re the Worst Ends with a Memorable Finale; Family Guy Heads to Freeform and FXX
04/04 - ABC Season Finales for May 2019; Lily Collins Set to Star in Paramount Network Series
04/03 - BET Picks Up 2nd Season of Boomerang; FX Scores with Vampire Comedy Series
04/02 - Netflix Schedules Applegate & Cardellini Comedy; NBC Adds More to Summer 2019 Schedule
04/01 - Better Things Gets 4th Season in 2020; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Returns in May on Fridays
03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2019)
03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals for Law & Order SVU and More; Evening Shade Complete Series DVD Release Coming Soon
03/29 - Fri-Yay: Broad City Goes Out on a High Note; Freeform Summer 2019 Premieres Includes grown-ish
03/28 - NBC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Abby's - Premieres Tonight (March 28); Fox 2019 Finales and Summer 2019 Premieres
03/27 - Tiffany Haddish Says 'They Ready' for Netflix; CBS Summer 2019 Drama Schedule
03/26 - TBS Celebrates Family Guy's 20th Anniversary; Apple TV+ Launching This Fall
03/25 - Hallmark Channel Upfront: New Podcast; ABC Gets 2nd Season of The Conners
03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2019)
03/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Conners Renewed for a Second Season; (Almost) Everything Brady Related Coming to a DVD Box Set
03/22 - Fri-Yay: Original Comedies at Netflix; ABC Announces April Finales, Including TGIF