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, December 2

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 27)

Friday, December 1

  • Henry Winkler (Barry/Arrested Development/Out of Practice/Monty/Happy Days) - Watch Henry on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Brie Larson (United States of Tara/Raising Dad) - Brie is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Eric Idle (Suddenly Susan/Nearly Departed) - Eric appears on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Maria Bamford (Lady Dynamite/Benched) - Maria is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Ms. Pat (The Ms. Pat Show) - Ms. Pat appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Angela Means (Cousin Skeeter) - Angela is a guest on repeats of Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen on CBS between 12:37-1:37am.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier/Partners/Hank/Back to You/Cheers) - NBC's Today catches up with Kelsey in the 9am hour.
  • Brandy Norwood (Zoe Ever After/The Game/Moesha/Thea) - Brandy chats and performs on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
  • Patrick Stewart (Blunt Talk) - Patrick sits down with to chat about his book Making It So on Live with Kelly and Mark, so check your listings.
  • Marcus Scribner (grown-ish/black-ish) - Marcus tells Sherri about his coming-of-age film, How I Learned to Fly, on Sherri, so check your local listings.
  • Chris Redd (Bust Down/Kenan/Disjointed) - Chris discusses his upcoming film Candy Cane Lane on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Tiffani Thiessen (Saved by the Bell/Alexa & Katie/Good Morning, Miami/Saved by the Bell: The College Years) - Tiffani discusses her latest cookbook, Here We Go Again: Recipes and Inspiration to Level Up Your Leftovers, and cooks on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


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

Family Matters - The Complete Series Step by Step - The Complete Series ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

09/05 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Sixth Season
09/12 - Abbott Elementary - The Complete Second Season
09/12 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-6 (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/26 - Family Matters - The Complete Series
09/26 - Step by Step - The Complete Series
10/10 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Thirteen / The Complete Season Fourteen
10/17 - ALF - The Complete Series (Deluxe Edition) (Shout! Factory Special Offers)
10/17 - Night Court (2023) - The Complete First Season
11/07 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Sixth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
11/14 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/05 - Father Knows Best - The Complete Series
12/05 - The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
12/12 - The Dick Van Dyke Show - The Complete Series
12/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 2 (Blu-ray)
12/12 - That Girl - The Complete Series
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

That Girl - The Complete Series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series

More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

12/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Bob ♥ Abishola Coming to an End; Only Murders in the Building Gets Limited Run on ABC
12/01 - Abbott Elementary Post-Oscars Airing, Only Murders on ABC; Remembering Frances Sternhagen, Marty Krofft and Others We Recently Lost
11/30 - Bob ♥ Abishola Ending After This Season; NBC Renews Rookie Dramas
11/29 - Antenna TV January 2024 Schedule; Max December Comedy Specials
11/28 - Prime Video's Hazbin Hotel; Lacey Chabert Gets Hallmark Unscripted Series
11/27 - Sundance Now Gets Original Comedy; Hallmark Original Returns for Season 2 in January
11/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 27, 2023)
11/25 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Kelsey Grammer Ready to Do 100 Episodes of Frasier; TBS Cancels Miracle Workers
11/24 - Fox Winter 2024 Schedule; An Evening From the Heart John Ritter Foundation NYC 2023 Event
11/23 - 2023 Thanksgiving TV Marathons
11/22 - Kerry Washington's UnPrisoned Gets Season 2; Classic Comedy Shorts Celebrate 40th Anniversary
11/21 - NBC Winter 2024 Schedule; Netflix Renews Rob Lowe Comedy
11/20 - BUZZR Celebrates Bob Barker's 100th Birthday; Ted Prequel Series on Peacock Gets Premiere Date
11/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 20, 2023)
11/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Young Sheldon Coming to an End After Seven Seasons; The CW International Sitcom Approach Not Going So Well
11/17 - ABC Winter 2024 Schedule; CBS Celebrates 98th Birthday of Dick Van Dyke
11/16 - Whoa Mama! Urkel Is Back for the Holidays!; Hulu Gets Such Brave Girls Comedy
11/15 - COZI TV's A Very COZI Christmas Schedule; Young Sheldon to End This Season on CBS
11/14 - CBS Winter 2024 Schedule; The CW Pulls 2 Comedies
11/13 - Antenna TV 2023 Holiday Marathons Schedule; Rewind TV 2023 Holiday Marathons Schedule
11/12 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 13, 2023)
11/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: SAG-AFTRA Strike Finally Ends; New Digital TV Broadcast Networks Coming
11/10 - AXS TV's The Partridge Family Thanksgiving Marathon; AspireTV Holiday Programming
11/09 - Bookie Premieres November 30 on Max; Ted Lasso Star Holiday Special on Apple TV+
11/08 - FX Renews The Bear for Season 3; Hulu's Australian Original Series Premieres November 29
11/07 - Disney+ Holiday Specials Extravaganza; Apple TV+ Peanuts Feature Film Coming Soon
11/06 - NBC Holiday Specials; Fox Holiday Specials
11/05 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 6, 2023)
11/04 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Broadcast Networks Preparing for Shorter Seasons of Scripted Series; CBS Announces Host of After Midnight
11/03 - Futurama Renewed for 2 More Seasons; ABC Holiday Specials
11/02 - Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas 2023 Schedule; Roku Gets in Holiday Spirit
11/01 - REELZ Remembers Matthew Perry; Leo Reich Comedy Special on HBO This December