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

Sunday, January 29

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 23)

Sunday, January 29

  • Lauren London (The Game) - Catch Lauren on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.


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

Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Ghosts - Season One The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/04 - Mr. Mayor - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) (DVD)
10/04 - The Munsters - Marineland Carnival with The Munsters TV Cast
10/18 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete First Season
11/08 - Frasier - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/08 - Young Rock - Season Two (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/15 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Seven / The Complete Season Eight
11/22 - That '70s Show - The Complete Series (Mill Creek)
11/29 - Ghosts - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
12/06 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - 70th Anniversary Ultimate Christmas Collection
12/13 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season
12/13 - Hogan's Heroes - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
01/03 - Andy Richter Controls the Universe - The Complete Series (2023 Release)
01/27 - Master of None - Season Three / The Complete Series
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

01/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 30, 2023)
01/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Neil Patrick Harris Reprises Character on How I Met Your Father; Rick and Morty Co-Creator Fired From Series
01/27 - NBC Celebrates Carol Burnett's 90th Birthday in April; Fox Renews The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob's Burgers for 2 Seasons Each; Remembering Yoshio Yoda of McHale's Navy and Carole Cook of The Lucy Show
01/26 - CBS Renews Bob Hearts Abishola for Season 5; Marc Maron HBO Special Premieres February 11
01/25 - BUZZR Wigs Out for Laughs on Friday; The CW's Comedic Launches
01/24 - CBS Renews The Neighborhood for Season 6; Lifetime's New February Ripped from the Headlines Movies Starring Chrishell Stause and Samantha Mathis
01/23 - OWN Acquires Insecure Starting in February; Season 2 of Bel-Air Gets Tatyana Ali to Recur
01/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 23, 2023)
01/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court a Success for NBC; South Park Season 26 Premiere Date Set
01/20 - Amazon Freevee Orders The Pradeeps of Pittsburgh; ABC's 20th Anniversary of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
01/19 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Apple TV+; HBO's Rain Dogs Premieres March 6
01/18 - getTV Reveals Magnum P.I. Timeslot; Onyx Collective Bringing More Programming to Hulu
01/17 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: Hulu, NBCUniversal; Antenna TV Valentine's Day Marathon
01/16 - Zoey 101 Movie Zoey 102 Coming Soon to Paramount+; Starz Picks Up Minx
01/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 16, 2023)
01/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Pair of Popular Broadcast Sitcoms Renewed for Third Season; Malcolm in the Middle Movie in the Works?
01/13 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: FX; NBC Alters Midseason 2023 Schedule
01/12 - TCA Winter 2023 Press Tour: ABC/Freeform; Antenna TV's Designing Women Super Belle Special
01/11 - All in the Family Coming to MeTV; 80th Golden Globe Winners
01/10 - SAG Nominations Live on Instagram Live; Remembering Earl Boen of It's a Living and Adam Rich of Eight Is Enough
01/09 - Wednesday Is Netflix's Top Hit of the Year; CBS Renews Fire Country
01/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 9, 2023)
01/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Wednesday to Get Second Season at Netflix; Call Me Kat Pays Tribute to Leslie Jordan
01/06 - SNL Announces Guest Hosts, Including Aubrey Plaza; Paramount+ Orders Series Starring Nicole Kidman
01/05 - Stop-Motion Animated Series Shape Island Premieres January 20 on Apple TV+; ABC's New Year's Eve Coverage is Still Rockin'
01/04 - Full House Removed from MeTV; Return to Outer Banks for Season 3 on February 23 on Netflix
01/03 - getTV Acquires Magnum, P.I.; Game Show Network's Newest Game Show
01/02 - Happy New Year; Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Acquires Drop Dead Diva
01/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 2, 2023)
12/31 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Late Night Talk Prepares for Big Changes in 2023; The X Factor Potentially Returning to the US
12/30 - In Memoriam: Remembering the Sitcom Stars We Lost in 2022
12/29 - ALF Coming to Laff Along with Classic TV Marathons on Saturdays; New Year's Eve 2022 and New Year's Day 2023 TV Marathons