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

Saturday, January 23

Danger Force - "Vidja Games" (Nickelodeon, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Danger Force and Captain Man get hooked making celebrity greeting videos to start raking in cash, but when making celebrity videos turns into a popularity contest, they accidentally send out a video that reveals their secret identities.

Side Hustle - "KidDING! Dongs" (Nickelodeon, 8:30PM ET/PT)
The Dance Dance Altoonisburg competition is coming up, and Lex, Presley and Munchy are excited to take part, but when an old friend from Lex and Presley's past surfaces, friendships are put to the test.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of January 18)

Friday, January 22

  • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Watch Bryan on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Daveed Diggs (Central Park/black-ish) - Daveed is a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Bill Hader (Barry) - Bill appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • George Lopez (Lopez/Saint George/George Lopez) - George chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
  • Morris Chestnut (Out All Night) - Morris talks about The Resident on Couch Surfing at 8am.
  • Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) - Jason talks about Our Friend on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Isaiah Crews (Side Hustle) - Isaiah talks about Side Hustle on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


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

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 The Office - The Complete Series (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
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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