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

Thursday, October 29

Young Sheldon - "A Secret Letter and a Lowly Disc of Processed Meat" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Sheldon discovers that Mary’s been keeping a secret about his future. Also, Meemaw is furious when she learns Dale fired Georgie.

Mom - "Texas Pete and a Parking Lot Carnival" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Bonnie worries about her therapist, Trevor (Rainn Wilson), when his life hits a serious rough patch. Also, Christy comes to Marjorie’s aid when she has trouble adjusting to a new job.

Superstore - "Essential" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
During the coronavirus pandemic, Amy and Jonah try to bring order to the chaos in Cloud 9 while being pulled in multiple directions; the employees learn what it means to be "heroes," while Amy and Jonah's impending move to California looms large.

Connecting... - "Day 82" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Michelle tries to meet a pressing work deadline and prepare a dish for a socially distanced dinner, all while fielding the world's questions about race in America; Garret and Ben find a way to escape from it all.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 26)

Thursday, October 29

  • America Ferrera (Superstore) - Catch America on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Julie Andrews (Julie) - Julie is a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Lauren Ash (Superstore/Super Fun Night) - Lauren is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • James Van Der Beek (What Would Diplo Do?/Friends with Better Lives/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23) - James appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Loretta Devine (Family Reunion/The Carmichael Show) - Loretta will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (The Goldbergs/Rules of Engagement/Reno 911!) - Wendi appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Joey McIntyre (Return of the Mac/The McCarthys) - Joey is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Michael Ian Black (The Jim Gaffigan Show/Ed) - Michael talks about A Better Man on ABC's GMA3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.
  • Ben Feldman (Superstore/A to Z/Living with Fran) - Ben talks about Superstore on NBC's Today in the 9am hour and on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly talks about three of her favorite Halloween costumes over the years on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) and Ben Falcone (Nobodies/Joey) - Meliss and Ben are guests on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Michael Strahan (Brothers) - Michael discusses the loss of his father and his experiences with racial bias on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (July/August/September/October)

Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season

07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
09/15 - South Side - Season 1
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/28 - COZI TV Halloween Marathons of The Munsters & Roseanne; Apple TV+ Orders Another Comedy, This Time with Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen
10/27 - Freeform's The Clock Is Ticking Special with Yara Shahidi; Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Ends on New Year's Eve
10/26 - TBS Orders 3rd Season of Miracle Workers; SNL Extended to 6 New Episodes in a Row - A Record!
10/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 26, 2020)
10/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Another Addams Family Reboot in the Works?; Quibi Says Goodbye After Six Months
10/23 - Fri-Yay: Archer Goes Back to Its Roots for Season 11; Everybody Loves Raymond Cast Reunion Tonight
10/22 - CBS Announces More Fall Premieres; REELZ Books Jennifer Aniston Special
10/21 - MeTV Network Acquires Looney Tunes and More Classic Cartoons; Kaley Cuoco HBO Max Series Announces Nov. 26 Premiere
10/20 - Antenna TV Officially Announces Returns of The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time; Holiday Movie Reunites Family Matters Siblings
10/19 - Disney+ Says "Simpsons Forever"; TBS Orders 4th Season of The Last O.G.
10/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 19, 2020)
10/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fried Green Tomatoes Series Starring Reba McEntire in the Works at NBC; Last Man Standing to End After Nine Seasons
10/16 - Fri-Yay: COVID-19 Storylines on TV, Will Viewers Watch?; Antenna TV's 70 Episode Jack Benny Marathon for 70th Anniversary
10/15 - Last Man Standing to Conclude After Season 9 in 2021; CBS Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Dates
10/14 - TBS Brings Out Halloween Sitcom Episodes on Halloween; Remembering Conchata Ferrell of Two and a Half Men
10/13 - Freeform's 'Kickoff to Christmas' Schedule; Celebrate 20 Years of Curb on HBO Max
10/12 - TNT Airing The West Wing Reruns on Fridays; Kate Mulgrew Joins Star Trek Animated Comedy
10/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 12, 2020)
10/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Seinfeld's Newman Returns in PSA to Encourage Mail-In Voting; Showtime Cancels On Becoming a God in Central Florida
10/09 - Fri-Yay: One Day at a Time Makes Broadcast Debut As a Continuation of the Series' Unlikely Journey; Dickinson Season 2 Premiere Date and Renewal for Season 3
10/08 - Hallmark Drama Adding Cheers, Happy Days and The Brady Bunch; Chelsea Handler HBO Max Special Gets Date
10/07 - NBC Fall Pilot Review: Connecting... - Premieres Thursday (Oct. 8); Supernatural Gets Marathons on TNT as Series Finale Airs Nov. 19 on The CW
10/06 - Cobra Kai Season 3 Premiere Date, 4th Season Renewal; Busy Philipps Joins Peacock Comedy Girls5eva
10/05 - Apple TV+ Launches The Snoopy Show in 2021; Antenna TV Celebrates 70th Anniversary of The Burns and Allen Show
10/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 5, 2020)
10/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saved by the Bell Reboot Debut Date Set; South Park Pandemic Special a Ratings Hit
10/02 - Fri-Yay: The Return of Sitcoms: black-ish & Superstore; Bounce Acquires Everybody Hates Chris & Greenleaf
10/01 - NBC's Young Rock Announces Cast; OWN Gets Digital Comedy
09/30 - Saved by the Bell Reboot Launching November 25; HBO Orders Weekly Talk Show with Sam Jay
09/29 - The Addams Family Coming to FETV; Netflix Developing Korean Sitcom
09/28 - 2002-2007 Sitcom George Lopez Coming to TBS; Guests Announced for black-ish Election Special