Friday, May 08, 2020

Fri-Yay: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on TV Sitcoms?; Freeform Orders Coronavirus Comedy

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

Normally, this time of year is a big one for TV. It's Upfronts season, the time of the year when TV networks are deciding their line-ups for next year, and renewing and cancelling shows en masse to prepare those line-ups. In recent years, the shine of Upfronts had worn off slightly as networks slowly inch towards a new world with online media and year-round programming. Still, Upfronts remained a centerpiece of television. This year, though, is obviously different. Networks will not be trotting out their line-ups to rooms packed full of advertisers as usual. And renewal and cancellation might be on the back burner. There are lingering questions, mainly, what does TV look like for the foreseeable future? At this point, no one really knows, but here are some options I'm thinking about.

Status quo schedules - Signs are indicating networks are going to keep their schedules mostly status quo since there is so much uncertainly about the next TV season. As of now, there have been many renewals but generally few cancellations. CBS did just cancel a handful of marginal comedy performers such as Man With a Plan, Carol's Second Act and Broke as well as the drama series Tommy. But NBC, Fox, and ABC all have many shows still on the bubble, and it seems possible that more of those bubble or marginal shows will make it to an additional season than usual, since there's no guarantee any new pilots will be ready for series by the fall if production doesn't resume.

Thinking out of the box - Some TV shows are still finding creative ways to continue production amongst the pandemic. Talk shows are still airing, but remotely and without a studio audience. Saturday Night Live has been doing "SNL at Home" using remote sketches. Live performance shows American Idol and The Voice are also doing remote episodes. Parks and Recreation had a special remote reunion episode, and there is talk of other shows doing the same. Some shows are even getting more creative, with both Pop TV sitcom One Day at a Time and NBC drama The Blacklist announcing they will remotely be producing an animated episode of their shows. It's possible we will see an increase in "creative" episodes such as remote episodes centered around video chatting platforms (Modern Family actually did a FaceTime episode back in 2015) or animated specials before production can safely resume. Still, it's hard to imagine too many scripted shows being able to pull off such a drastic format change for more than a handful of one-off specials. I can't imagine too many people would be interested in entire seasons structured this way. But it could be a fun way to keep fans engaged while TV shows are away.

Scaled-back production - There has been talk of, after it is safe to resume production, scaling back production so it can safely begin a bit earlier. It's hard to know when it will be safe for prestige drama series to travel internationally again, or when you can have hundreds of actors and extras packed together in a room again. One video call with Warner employees discussed limiting scenes where actors are close together for a while (so no love scenes). It's hard to imagine many shows existing within these constraints (how can you do Superstore without having the store full of customers? etc.) but it may be a reality some have to face.

Plotlines about Coronavirus - It's inevitable that some shows will want to tackle one of the biggest international crises in history. Coronavirus is arguably the biggest world crisis since World War II, so that makes it the first in television's history. We will probably see storylines about this virus for years to come, some good and some maybe not so good. Brooklyn Nine-Nine creator Dan Goor discussed having his show tackle it when it returns, since its characters would be frontline essential workers. A show like Grey's Anatomy or Superstore seems poised to tackle it, too.

No matter what happens, this is a very interesting time for TV, and it will certainly stand out when people go back and marathon through shows of today and discover strange remote specials or entire seasons where the actors were socially distanced. We'll see if that's reality, but for now, at least we have TV shows of the past.


Freeform

Speaking of the Coronavirus, Freeform has ordered the limited scripted series Love in the Time of Corona, from executive producers Joanna Johnson (Good Trouble, The Fosters, Hope & Faith), Christine Sacani (Good Trouble, The Fosters) and Anonymous Content's Robyn Meisinger. This four-part romantic comedy series is a funny and hopeful look at the search for love, sex and connection during this time of social distancing. The series will follow several interwoven stories with an ensemble of characters who are sheltering in their homes, some of whom are wondering if a hookup with a roommate can ever be casual, while another is kicking herself for deciding to isolate with an ex. It is a show that takes a fresh look at love that knows no bounds. The series will be filmed using remote technologies while utilizing talents' real living spaces as the backdrop to the stories. Love in the Time of Corona will premiere in August.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, June 4

Young Sheldon - "Quirky Eggheads and Texas Snow Globes" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After Dr. Sturgis (Wallace Shawn) experiences a nervous breakdown, Mary worries Sheldon is headed down a similar path. Also, Georgie discovers he has a knack for sales.

Man with a Plan - "Driving Miss Katie" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Adam has trouble helping Katie prepare for her driving test. Also, Don turns to Lowell for help romancing Marcy.

Mom - "Somebody’s Grandmother and the A-List" (CBS, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Christy helps Marjorie prepare for her first date since her husband’s passing. Also, Bonnie’s friendship with Jill is put to the test when a past indiscretion resurfaces. Peter Onorati guest stars as Wayne, Marjorie’s date.

Broke - "Sammy's Project" (CBS, 9:30PM ET/PT)
When Sammy’s big idea for his school project to make a timeline of U.S. history with a map fails, his family stays up all night to help him finish the assignment on time. As Jackie and Barry work on the map, they argue over their different parenting styles. Also, as Javier and Elizabeth help with the timeline, they argue about how to plan financially for their future. Kyle Bornheimer returns as Barry, Jackie’s ex-husband and Sammy’s father.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of June 1)

Thursday, June 4

  • Wanda Sykes (The New Adventures of Old Christine/Wanda at Large) - Watch Wanda on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Christine Baranski (Happy Family/Welcome to New York/Cybill) - Christine appears on Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Anna Kendrick (Love Life) - Anna will be on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Louie Anderson (Baskets/The Louie Show) - Louie will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Fortune Feimster (Bless the Harts/Champions) - Fortune appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (The Facts of Life/Living Single) - Kim is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Brooke Shields (Suddenly Susan) - NBC's Today catches up with Brooke in the 10am hour.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry talks about Carter on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Lauren Lapkus (Clipped) - Lauren talks about Netflix's The Wrong Missy on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

Martin - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season

02/04 - Martin - The Complete Series (WBShop.com)
02/11 - Step by Step - The Complete Sixth Season (WBShop.com)
02/18 - Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/25 - Better Things - The Complete Third Season
03/17 - Crashing - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

06/04 - Antenna TV's Coach Father's Day Marathon; The CW Acquires Patrick Dempsey Thriller for Fall 2020
06/03 - HBO Max Comedy Starts Strong; Alexa & Katie Returns in June for Final Episodes
06/02 - Ted Lasso Coming Soon to Apple TV+; Quibi Picks Up 2nd Season of Dishmantled
06/01 - Disney+ Orders Second Season of Diary of a Future President; Young Sheldon Streaming on HBO Max
05/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of June 1, 2020)
05/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: HBO Max Acquires Young Sheldon; Simpsons Now Available in Original Aspect Ratio on Disney+
05/29 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Continues to Delight and Improve; Remembering Richard Herd of Seinfeld
05/28 - Apple TV+ to Reboot Fraggle Rock as Series; Virtual Table Read for Bless the Harts on June 1
05/27 - 2021 Programming Set for FX; Hollywood Game Night Returns for 5 Episodes
05/26 - FX Orders 3rd Season of Comedy; Adult Swim Brings Back Haddish and Wong Series
05/25 - Memorial Day 2020 TV Marathons
05/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 25, 2020)
05/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Fall Lineup Looking to Include Fewer Sitcoms; Head of the Class Arrives on DVD
05/22 - Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming
05/21 - Freeform Announces 2020-21 Slate; Fox Brings Back Last Man Standing, Prodigal Son and The Resident for 2021
05/20 - Summer of Me Returns June 1 on MeTV; FXX Orders More Dave
05/19 - CBS Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Remembering Ken Osmond of Leave it to Beaver
05/18 - Pop TV Slates Date for One Day at a Time Animated Episode; Remembering Fred Willard of Modern Family, Everybody Loves Raymond and Fernwood 2 Night
05/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 18, 2020)
05/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Renewals and Cancellations of 2019-2020 (So Far); Soaps Running Out of Episodes
05/15 - The CW Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; Fri-Yay: Quarantine Reunions - An Emerging Trend
05/14 - Dads Documentary to Premiere on Apple TV+ on June 19; Amazon Picks Up 2nd Season of Upload
05/13 - COZI TV Slates The Office "Best of Jim" Stunt; AFV Slates at Home Special, Extends Season Thru June 14
05/12 - Remembering Jerry Stiller of Seinfeld and The King of Queens; HBO Max Announces Santa Inc.
05/11 - Fox Upfront 2020-21: Fall 2020 Schedule; CBS Orders Three New Series for 2020-21
05/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 11, 2020)
05/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: At Home Version of America's Funniest Home Videos; Younger Spinoff in the Works
05/08 - Fri-Yay: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Have on TV Sitcoms?; Freeform Orders Coronavirus Comedy
05/07 - CBS Announces 23 Series Renewed for 2020-21, Fall Schedule to Be Announced May 19; Robbie Premieres on Comedy Central
05/06 - TBS and truTV Present I'm Sorry Mother's Day Marathon; HBO Max Orders Comedy with Jean Smart
05/05 - Celebrity IOU Gets 2nd Season; Remembering Sam Lloyd of Scrubs
05/04 - HBO Renews Insecure for 5th Season; Binge Comedy Series on TBS Site, App and VOD