Friday, July 27, 2018

Fri-Yay: What Direction Are Sitcoms Headed In?; REELZ Fall 2018 Slate Includes John Ritter Special

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!

The Good Place

by Vincent

In my last column, I discussed sitcom's past, and which decade represented the best that sitcoms had to offer. In this column, I'll be taking a look at where I think sitcoms are headed as we head towards the end of the 2010s into a new decade.

If we look back at the 2010s as a decade for sitcoms, you'll notice that, with the exception of The Big Bang Theory (which is the decade's most popular sitcom for sure but almost seems at odds with the rest of the most popular sitcoms of the decade), single-camera sitcoms were dominant. The decade was defined by shows like Modern Family and Parks and Recreation - and, when these shows premiered, their single-camera mockumentary format was inventive and fresh. Now, however, we've seen that format become somewhat overplayed and fall in popularity. The most popular and acclaimed sitcoms of the current moment are shows like Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Good Place. These shows are still single-camera, but - while being unique for other reasons - are a bit more traditional in their storytelling format. However, these shows all have very unique, well-defined characters and fast-paced humor, so I would expect that to continue in the near future.

An interesting question mark is whether multi-camera sitcoms will make a comeback. The format has been slowly dying out, and seems to have hit its lowest point this decade - after single-cams began growing in popularity in the 2000s, the 2010s ramped up their production of them, particularly after shows like The Office and Modern Family became big hits, proving that single-camera sitcoms weren't just a niche trend, but something that could be transported to large audiences. CBS has really struggled to replace its multi-cam massive hit The Big Bang Theory with a similar replacement - most of their attempts to find "the next Big Bang Theory" have either started strong but wound up disappointing (such as 2 Broke Girls), completely misfired altogether (such as Kevin Can Wait). They found some success with the consistently solid performer Mom, but it's never quite been the giant hit CBS likely would want it to be. It's pretty telling that CBS's spin-off of Big Bang is actually a single-cam rather than a multi-cam. However, the revival of Roseanne, even with all of its controversy, may prove to be a turning point in favor of multi-camera sitcoms. Networks are desperate to find a show that appeals to wide audiences as much as the Roseanne reboot did without the political controversy, and considering how many viewers tuned into the multi-camera Roseanne reboot, a multi-camera sitcom could be the trick. Add that to the fact that Netflix's One Day at a Time and NBC's canceled but beloved The Carmichael Show have found a lot of fan and critical love, and the tides may be turning towards multi-camera sitcoms once again. So could the 2020s see a move back towards more traditional sitcoms? It's certainly possible, but I'd say that we should still expect the expiration of the 2000s and 2010s to continue - a balance of both, though, presents an interesting future for the sitcom.


Behind Closed Doors

REELZ announced its fall 2018 programming slate including new series, new specials, new episodes of returning series and the Stand Up To Cancer fundraising telecast airing for the first time on the network. Of note for us is their Behind Closed Doors specials. Every so often a star leaves an everlasting mark on culture and entertainment creating household names with stories that enthrall the public. This is especially true with the stories of John Ritter and Paul Walker who are the focus of two new Behind Closed Doors specials hosted by Natalie Morales. Rounding out the new specials is Casey Anthony showing viewers her shocking tale as told through unprecedented access to Anthony's inner circle and the law enforcement officials who worked the case.

Behind Closed Doors (New John Ritter episode premieres Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT)- Behind Closed Doors original documentary specials hosted by Natalie Morales return with new episodes about the life and legacy of Three's Company star John Ritter and an intimate look at The Fast and the Furious star Paul Walker's life cut short by tragedy. Behind Closed Doors examines the lives of beloved celebrities utilizing the vast offerings of NBC News historical archives including rarely seen footage and revealing interviews with the celebrities themselves along with fresh interviews from those who knew or worked with them. Behind Closed Doors specials are produced by NBC News' Peacock Productions.

John Ritter: Behind Closed Doors premieres Saturday, September 8 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. As Jack Tripper on Three's Company, John Ritter established himself as one of the most gifted comedians of a generation, launching a prolific career in television and movies that would make him one of America's most beloved stars. But for a man so brilliant in comedy it was the tragedy of an undiagnosed aortic aneurysm that would cut his life short at just 54 years old. Through personal stories told by his closest friends and co-stars including Suzanne Somers, Joyce DeWitt, Henry Winkler, Peter Bogdanovich, Jimmy Kimmel and Kaley Cuoco, John Ritter: Behind Closed Doors reveals the generous spirit behind Ritter's undeniable talent, his legacy of laughter and his family's determination to save lives by raising awareness of the condition that caused his death. Paul Walker: Behind Closed Doors premieres Sunday, November 25 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT. The Casey Anthony new documentary special premieres Sunday, December 9 at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, December 9

The Simpsons - "'Tis the 30th Season" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
After a failed Black Friday shopping spree, Marge is determined to fix Christmas; Homer and the kids surprise Marge with a vacation to a Florida resort.

Bob's Burgers - "Better Off Sled" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Teenagers take over the Belchers' sledding territory, inciting an epic turf war; Bob steps in to help Linda, who's in a time crunch to get three scarves knitted before Christmas.

Family Guy - "Pawtucket Pete" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
The brewery's new bosses decide to change the company's mascot; in an attempt to be crowned the new face of Pawtucket Ale, Peter and Brian go head-to-head.

Rel - "Hate & Hip Hop" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
One of Rel's patients is prejudiced and Rel is conflicted on how to behave as his attending nurse; everyone is obsessing over Brittany's ex-boyfriend's awful new rap song.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of December 3)

Friday, December 7

  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Watch Julie on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Kathy Griffin (Suddenly Susan) - Kathy visits The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jameela Jamil (The Good Place) - Jameela is a guest on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Alex Wolff (The Naked Brothers Band) - Alex appears on a repeat of Last Call with Carson Daly at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/Sean Saves the World) - Sean visits The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Sinbad (Rel/The Sinbad Show/A Different World) - Sinbad is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Mark Feuerstein (9JKL/Good Morning, Miami/Conrad Bloom/Fired Up) - Mark stops by Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Lori Loughlin (Fuller House/Hudson Street/Full House) - Lori talks about Hallmark Channel's original movie Homegrown Christmas on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT. She will also be on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Rickey Smiley (The Rickey Smiley Show) - Rickey drops by Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Dondre Whitfield (Hidden Hills/Inside Schwartz/Between Brothers/The Crew) - Dondre is a guest on Access Live, so check your local listings.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell: The College Years/Saved by the Bell) - Tiffani cooks up holiday recipes from her new cookbook on E!'s Daily Pop at 12pm.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (October/November)

The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection Alice - The Complete Eighth Season Step by Step - The Complete Third Season

10/02 - The Beverly Hillbillies - The Official Fifth Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 6th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 7th Season
10/02 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 8th Season
10/02 - Ghosted - The Complete First Season
10/02 - The Love Boat - Season Four - Volume One / Volume Two
10/02 - Police Squad! - TV and Movie Collection
10/02 - Saved by the Bell - The Complete Collection
10/16 - Community - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
10/23 - Alice - The Complete Eighth Season
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Two
10/24 - The Odd Couple (2015) - Season Three
10/31 - The Bad News Bears - The Complete Series - All 26 Episodes
11/01 - Episodes - Season 5
11/05 - Robin Williams - Comic Genius (includes Mork & Mindy)
11/06 - American Dad! - Volume 13
11/16 - Man with a Plan - Season One
11/20 - Step by Step - The Complete Third Season
11/27 - What I Like About You - The Complete Third Season
12/04 - Family Guy - Season Sixteen
12/04 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Sixth Season
12/18 - Our Cartoon President - Season One
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