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

Wednesday, February 21

The Conners - "Moms and Rats" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Bev experiences moments of clarity and reflection and asks Jackie to spend the day together in Chicago. Elsewhere, Darlene finds a rat in her home but refuses to let Ben kill it.

Not Dead Yet - "Not in the Cards Yet" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Lexi, Duncan, Sam and Dennis attend an award ceremony for several SoCal Independent editing nominations. Meanwhile, Nell steps into babysit Sam’s daughter, Tilly, who doesn’t seem interested in hanging out with her “fun Aunt Nell.”

Abbott Elementary - "Smoking" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
After a student is caught smoking, the Abbott staff come together to revamp the outdated drug policy. Meanwhile, Janine tries to prep the new substitute teacher for her class but finds it challenging to give up her former role.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 19)

Wednesday, February 21

  • Jeff Goldblum (Search Party) - Watch Jeff on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Tyler James Williams (Abbott Elementary/Go On/Everybody Hates Chris) - Tyler appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Ariana DeBose (Schmigadoon!) - Ariana is a guest on a repeat of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Emma Stone (The Curse) - Emma appears on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Do Not Disturb/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity), Arden Myrin (Working) and Mary Lynn Rajskub (Rob Riggle's Ski Master Academy/How to Be a Gentleman/Veronica's Closet/The Larry Sanders Show) - Jerry, Arden and Mary are guests on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Kyle Richards (Down to Earth) - Kyle appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 3am on Bravo. She also talks about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Sam Waterston (Grace and Frankie) - NBC's Today catches up with Sam in the 9am hour.
  • Queen Latifah (Living Single) - Queen Latifah is joining Drew to talk about the 30th anniversary of Living Single and playing a special round of Final Five with questions from former co-star Erika Alexander on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (November-February)

Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Father Knows Best - The Complete Series The Odd Couple - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Three's Company - The Official 40th Anniversary Collection Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

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
12/15 - 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

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

02/20 - Brittany Snow to Star Opposite Malin Akerman in Starz Series; Dennis Quaid Joining Paramount+
02/19 - Rewind TV's 227 on 2/27 Marathon; Dolly Parton's Pet Gala with Special Guests
02/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 19, 2024)
02/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Bewitched Reboot in the Works; Paramount+ and Peacock in Merger Talks
02/16 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: The CW; Girls5eva Season 3 Premieres March 14
02/15 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: Peacock, Syfy and NBC
02/14 - Survival of the Thickest Gets 2nd Season; Roma Downey and Ted McGinley Set to Star on Prime Video
02/13 - Netflix Announces Adam Sandler Special; Tyler Perry Gets Another Series
02/12 - TCA Winter 2024 Press Tour: ABC, Disney, Hulu, FX
02/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 12, 2024)
02/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: FX Sticking with Binge Drop for The Bear; Peak TV Declared to Be "Over"
02/09 - More Stars for Netflix's No Good Deed; ID Premiering Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV; Remembering Carl Weathers
02/08 - Apple TV+ Comedy Series Palm Royale Has Star Power; Katt Williams Gets New Netflix Comedy Special
02/07 - Hallmark Movies & Mysteries to Rebrand as Hallmark Mystery; Fox Renews Animal Control for Season 3 Ahead of Season 2 Launch
02/06 - COZI TV's The Many Loves of Frasier Crane Marathon; Netflix Announces Cast for Ted Danson Comedy
02/05 - Lopez vs Lopez Airing in April on NBC; Apple TV+ New Peanuts Special on February 16
02/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 5, 2024)
02/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Really Ending After 12 Seasons; Season Two Premiere Date Set for Lopez vs Lopez
02/02 - Extraordinary Season 2 This March on Hulu; Great American Family Sets Hosts for Gala
02/01 - Colin from Accounts Returning to Paramount+; Weakest Link Days of Our Lives Special
01/31 - Hulu Black History Month Includes Timeless Classics; BUZZR Celebrates Black History Month, Too
01/30 - Good Times 50th Anniversary Marathons on get.; Password Returns for Season 2 on NBC
01/29 - Antenna TV's I Wish for an I Dream of Jeannie Valentine's Day Marathon; Malin Akerman Headlining Starz Drama
01/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 29, 2024)
01/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jon Stewart Set to Return to The Daily Show Once a Week; Ted McGinley to Star in Prime Video Series
01/26 - Antenna TV's Designing Women Super Belle Sunday II Marathon; The Bear Star Hosting SNL
01/25 - Ramy Youssef Gets Max Comedy Special; Solar Opposites Celebrates Valentine's Day
01/24 - When Calls the Heart Returns for Season 11; Max February 2024 Programming
01/23 - Cast for Untitled Erin Foster Comedy; Peacock's Apples Never Fall Gets Premiere Date
01/22 - SNL Guests to Close Out January; Mike Epps 4th Netflix Special
01/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of January 22, 2024)
01/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Schmigadoon! and Rap Sh!t Cancelled; Paramount Sale Closer to Reality