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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Wednesday, April 24

The Conners - "Manifesting, Marriage Testing and Cheeseballs" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
The Conners relish national cheeseball day as a family. Meanwhile, Harris falls behind in her work duties at the Lunch Box, and Darlene and Ben must figure out how to spend time together despite their two separate schedules.

Not Dead Yet - "Not the End Yet" / "Not a Ghost Yet" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Nell finds out that Duncan is selling the SoCal Independent, so she takes matters into her own hands to save her job when Lexi seems unwilling to help. Then, Nell navigates an unexpected incident that leaves the sale of the newspaper on hold.

Animal Control - "Skunks and Swans" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Frank and Shred take on an aggressive swan; Shred has a meet-cute with a mysterious woman; Emily makes a mistake that results in Victoria having very little time to prepare for her big exam; Patel gets his father to help Victoria cram for the test.

Family Guy - "A Stache From the Past" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Peter loses the Griffins' home in a reverse mortgage, he and Mayor West travel to confront the man advertising the scheme, Tom Selleck; Stewie and Brian open a booth at the flea market, leading to a rivalry with Bruce.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 22)

Wednesday, April 24

  • Carol Burnett (Palm Royale/Mad About You/Mama's Family) - Watch Carol on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Nicole Richie (Great News) - Nicole is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Fred Armisen (Los Espookys/Forever/Final Space) - Fred sits in with The 8G Band on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Lisa Ann Walter (Abbott Elementary/Emeril) and Michaela Watkins (Dinner with the Parents/Search Party/The Unicorn/Casual/Trophy Wife) - Lisa and Michaela are guests on After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • John Early (Search Party) - John appears on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Jesse is a guest on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen at 10:15pm on Bravo.
  • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - E! News has an interview with Tiffany at 11pm on E!.
  • Ronny Chieng (Young Rock/Ronny Chieng: International Student) - Ronny guest co-hosts Comedy Central's The Daily Show at 11pm.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew will be on CBS Mornings some time between 7-9am.
  • Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) - Jerry talks about Unfrosted on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am and on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Mayan Lopez (Lopez vs Lopez) - Mayan talks about NBC's Lopez vs Lopez on Access Daily with Mario & Kit, so check your local listings.
  • Carrie Preston (Crowded/Happyish/Emeril) - Carrie, a fan-favorite on The Good Wife, tells Sherri about her new show Elsbeth on Sheri, so check your local listings.
  • Harry Hamlin (Movie Stars) - Harry has a cooking demo on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.


New on DVD/Blu-ray

Father Knows Best - The Complete Series Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series Check It Out! - The Complete Series

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
12/15 - Letterkenny - Season 11
12/19 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Official Restored Complete Series
12/22 - Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection (includes The Ropers and Three's a Crowd)
01/09 - South Park - Seasons 11-15 (Blu-ray)
01/16 - Ghosts (UK) - Season Five
02/13 - Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
02/27 - The Really Loud House - Season One
03/12 - Ghosts (UK) - The Complete Series
03/12 - Looney Tunes Collector's Choice - Volume 3 (Blu-ray)
03/12 - Rick and Morty - Season 7 (Blu-ray Steelbook) (Blu-ray) (DVD)
04/03 - Too Close for Comfort - The Complete Series (VEI)
04/08 - Check It Out! - The Complete Series (VEI)

The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) 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

04/24 - Apple TV+ Comedy Trying Season 4; Shoresy Returns to Hulu in June
04/23 - Bob Hearts Abishola Coming to Syndication This Fall; Off Script With The Hollywood Reporter Returns in May
04/22 - Hasan Minhaj: Off With His Head Comedy Tour Expands Into June & July, Including at NJPAC; Comedy Central Orders Golden Axe
04/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 22, 2024)
04/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Cancels Two Series and Picks Up New Soap Opera; Potential New Buyer Interested in Paramount
04/19 - Nikki Glaser Gets HBO Special; Peacock and UK Channel 4's We Are Lady Parts Season 2
04/18 - Acapulco Returns May 1; Iliza Shlesinger Heads to Prime Video
04/17 - 31st SAG Awards Airs on Netflix Next February; Prime Video Orders Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? Spinoff with Host Travis Kelce
04/16 - ABC Renews The Rookie for Season 7; CBS Orders New Soap Opera The Gates
04/15 - Paramount+ Announces Final Season of Animated Star Trek Comedy; Lifetime May 2024 Movies
04/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 15, 2024)
04/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: The Talk Coming to an End at CBS; CBS Renews The Neighborhood
04/12 - Netflix Orders Tom Segura Comedy Series; Surprise! S.W.A.T. Gets Uncanceled...Again
04/11 - Max's Velma Returns April 25; Eva Longoria Apple TV+ Series Premieres in June
04/10 - CBS Renews NCIS and The Neighborhood; Max's Pretty Little Liars Returns May 9
04/09 - CBS 2023-24 Season Finale Dates; Hacks Star Gets Max Comedy Special
04/08 - Letterman's My Next Guest Returns April 30; Jack McBrayer HGTV Series Premieres May 3
04/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 8, 2024)
04/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Cancels Quantum Leap; Airdate Set for Final Pat Sajak Wheel of Fortune Episode
04/05 - Hulu Spring and Summer 2024 Slate; Netflix Orders Tyler Perry Drama; Remembering Joe Flaherty
04/04 - Apple TV+ The Big Door Prize Returns April 24; ABC Renews Will Trent for Season 3
04/03 - Sony Pictures and Game Show Network Upfront; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and 9-1-1 for 2024-25
04/02 - Adult Swim's Smiling Friends Returns May 12; Stallone Drama Returning for Season 2
04/01 - Selena Gomez Gets New Food Network Series; Orphan Black Gets New Series
03/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 1, 2024)
03/30 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Patricia Richardson on Potential Home Improvement Reboot; Paramount+ Removes Several Nickelodeon Series
03/29 - Hulu Launches on Disney+; Under the Bridge Premieres April 17
03/28 - Netflix's Good Times Animated Comedy Trailer; Too Close for Comfort and Check It Out! Complete Series on DVD
03/27 - The Upshaws Part 5 This April; Max Orders Noah Wyle Medical Drama
03/26 - Apple TV+ Orders Star-Studded Comedy; Elizabeth Banks Joins New Peacock Series
03/25 - Disney Channel Orders Wizards of Waverly Place Revival; Paramount+ Animated Comedy Ark: The Animated Series
03/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 25, 2024)