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

Tuesday, January 18

Abbott Elementary - "New Tech" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
When a new computer program is introduced at Abbott, Janine is excited to finally help Barbara out with something. However, Barbara is reluctant to accept change and finds herself in a tricky situation when she decides to lie about her students’ results rather than admit defeat. Elsewhere, Melissa surprises Jacob when she offers up a friend to assist with his lesson on unions, but she ends up teaching Jacob an important lesson herself.

black-ish - "Bow-Mo" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Dre calls into a radio show and gets humiliated in front of Diane and tries to redeem himself. Meanwhile, Bow tries to bond with a group of young female doctors and learns a hard truth.

American Auto - "Millbank, Iowa" (NBC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The group travels to Iowa for the opening of a new factory.

Grand Crew - "Wine & Hip Hop" (NBC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sherm tags along as Nicky sells a house to a famous rapper; Noah and his date get into a fender bender; Anthony deals with dating while vegan.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Payneful Suffering" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As the family prepares for Janine's return, everyone and everything goes awry.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Forgive and Forget" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Reginald seeks forgiveness from his estranged son.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 17)

Tuesday, January 18

  • Rob Lowe (The Grinder/Parks and Recreation) - Catch Rob on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Francia Raisa (How I Met Your Father/growni-ish) - Francia is a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ricky Gervais (After Life/The Office) - Ricky appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC. He also talks about After Life on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Hilary Duff (How I Met Your Father/Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hilary will be on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC. She also talks about How I Met Your Father on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Adam DeVine (Workaholics/Modern Family) - Adam is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Valerie Bertinelli (Hot in Cleveland/CafĂ© Americain/Sydney/One Day at a Time) - Valerie talks about her new book Enough Already on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am and in the 10am hour and on The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Ana Gasteyer (American Auto/People of Earth/Suburgatory) - Ana appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Steve Harvey (The Steve Harvey Show) - Steve is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kym Whitley (Young & Hungry/Animal Practice/Sparks) and Finesse Mitchell (Outmatched/A.N.T. Farm) - Kym and Finesse guest host The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa talks about Netflix's Brazen on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Rose McIver (Ghosts/Woke) - Rose is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jason Biggs (Outmatched/Mad Love/Drexell's Class) - Jason and his wife Jenny Mollen are guests on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jenny McCarthy Wahlberg (Two and a Half Men/Jenny) - Jenny chats about The Masked Singer on a repeat of Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
  • Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Stark Raving Mad/Wings) - Tony talks about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on NBC's Today sometime between 7-9am.


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

Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Mom - The Eighth and Final Season Punky Brewster (1984-88) - The Complete Series (2021 Release) I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - The Honeymooners Specials - A Christmas Carol
11/02 - Mom - The Eighth and Final Season
11/02 - Punky Brewster - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
11/02 - Sex and the City - The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)
11/09 - Saved by the Bell (2020) - Season One
11/09 - Younger - The Complete Series
11/16 - Kevin Can F*** Himself - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
11/23 - Dead Pixels - Seasons One and Two
11/30 - I Dream of Jeannie - The Complete Series (Mill Creek) (2021 Release) (Blu-ray)
12/07 - The Andy Griffith Show - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/07 - Rick & Morty - Season 5 (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray Limited Edition Steelbook)
12/14 - The Abbott and Costello Show - Season 1 (Blu-ray)
12/14 - Letterkenny - Season 9
01/04 - Work in Progress - Season 2
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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12/30 - New Year's Eve 2021 and New Year's Day 2022 TV Marathons
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12/27 - Atlanta Returns for Third Season on March 24 on FX After 3 Year Break; Bridgerton Returns for Second Season on March 25 on Netflix
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12/24 - 2021 Christmas Eve and Christmas Day TV Marathons & Movies
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