Friday, May 22, 2020

Fri-Yay: Will HBO Max Work?; ABC Announces 2020-21 Season Programming

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!

HBO Max

by Vincent

Next week is the official launch of HBO Max, the latest in a rapidly increasing streaming service wars that's emerging between the major media companies. HBO Max enters a market already pretty crowded by Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon, along with other recent launches like Apple TV, not to mention HBO's own HBO Go (which isn't going away despite the launch of HBO Max, somewhat confusingly.) But can HBO Max carve out its own niche in an increasingly crowded streaming market? It is debuting with a pretty impressive line-up, with shows with large established fanbases like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who, South Park and Rick and Morty soon to call the streamer home, along with upcoming originals such as the third season of Search Party (moving over from TBS following two critically acclaimed seasons), a handful of upcoming DC superhero-based projects (an area Netflix couldn't quite make work with its Marvel agreement ending after just a few years). Still, I have some reservations about HBO Max's success.

HBO Max, in a lot of ways, seems like a direct competitor to Netflix, seeming to aim for their mix of high-brow series with mainstream fare. That's different than something like Disney+, which was purely aimed at families and younger audience and has done a good job cornering that demographic. But there's really nothing separating HBO Max from the already-established trilogy of streamers other than their streaming library. Having Friends especially is an admittedly a big get. There's also not a clear brand for HBO Max, and the marketing has been slightly confusing. A lot of people might simply assume HBO Max is some sort of HBO Go extension, but there's really nothing particularly "HBO" about HBO Max other than the fact that you can get it through an HBO Go subscription. Still, in the increasingly competitive streaming wars, a brand for a service is very important. Netflix's brand has basically become "the streaming service" (it's widely the most used and being on Netflix almost gives way to a popularity boost in and of itself). Disney+ has a very strong brand thanks to its Disney content and its family-friendly approach. Hulu (which is now owned by Disney) is becoming Disney+'s more mature and experimental cousin (sort of what FX is to Fox). Amazon and Apple TV+ don't have great brands either, but they're also owned by billion-dollar conglomerates and are treated more as side projects of those mega corporations. But what is HBO Max? The branding so far seems to be "where you can watch Friends," which honestly might be enough given the popularity of Friends, but I remain skeptical. At the highest price point of any streamer ($14.99 a month following the initial $11.99 early deal puts it slightly above Netflix and ad-free Hulu, and well above Disney+'s $4.99 a month and Hulu Basic's $5.99 a month), it's hard for me to see too many people who aren't giant Friends or Big Bang Theory fans rushing to sign up for a subscription. Still, having two of the biggest sitcoms of the past 30 years on your service could be enough to buy the service time to carve a niche for itself. Whatever happens, these are interesting times for streaming services. With this and the launch of NBCUniversal's Peacock later this year, it'll be very interesting to see whether consumers are okay with throwing more money at an increasingly number of streaming services, or if they're okay sacrificing some of their favorite shows and movies for a smaller streaming bill at the end of the month.


ABC

Having just solidified its position as the No. 1 network in entertainment among Adults 18-49 for the first time in four years, ABC is announcing its 2020-2021 programming slate, which includes renewals for 19 series and two straight-to-series orders from its current crop of pilots – David E. Kelley's thriller Big Sky and the multi-camera comedy Call Your Mother (formerly My Village) from Kari Lizer (The New Adventures of Old Christine) – as well as the previously announced alternative series Supermarket Sweep with Leslie Jones. Nineteen series were renewed yesterday: American Housewife, The Bachelor, black-ish, The Conners, Dancing with the Stars, The Goldbergs, A Million Little Things, mixed-ish, The Rookie, Shark Tank, Stumptown, 20/20 and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. They join previously announced renewals of America's Funniest Home Videos, American Idol, The Bachelorette, The Good Doctor, Grey’s Anatomy, Station 19 and the series order of Supermarket Sweep. Schedule to be announced at a later date.

Series that didn't make the cut for 2020-21 were Emergence, Bless This Mess, Single Parents, Schooled and Kids Say The Darndest Things. As for the new series pick-ups (so far): From visionary storyteller David E. Kelley comes Big Sky, a thriller created by Kelley, who will write multiple episodes and serve as showrunner in its premiere season. Private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) join forces with his estranged wife and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick) to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken. Natalie Alyn Lind and John Carroll Lynch also star. In the comedy, Call Your Mother from Kari Lizer, this multicamera comedy follows an empty-nester mom who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids realize they might actually need her more than they thought. Kyra Sedgwick stars.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Thursday, September 29

Young Sheldon - "Four Hundred Cartons of Undeclared Cigarettes and a Niblingo" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
George Sr. bails Meemaw and Georgie out of jail. Also, Sheldon and Missy meet Mandy (Emily Osment), and Mary feels unwelcome at church.

Ghosts - "Spies" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Sam enlists the Ghosts to help secure a good review from an overly critical couple staying at the B&B. Also, Isaac tries to integrate Nigel into his friend group.

Welcome to Flatch - "Welcome to (Barb) Flatch" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Kelley is changing diapers; Cheryl and Joe are raising baby chickens; Shrub is courting Beth; Barb Flatch makes a triumphant return to her hometown to shake things up.

Call Me Kat - "Call Me Ken Jennings" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Kat is seated next to "Jeopardy!" contestant Ken Jennings on her flight home; Kat discovers some significant changes have been made to the cafe by Randi and Phil; Max has returned home from his time in Nashville.

Atlanta - "Light Skinned-ed" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
My family is so crazy we need our own reality TV show. How you still got beef from the 70's? Whew. And y'all need to stop flirting with people's daddy.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 26)

Thursday, September 29

  • George Clooney (Roseanne/The Facts of Life/ E/R (1984-1985) - Catch George on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation) - Billy appears on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. Billy appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith) - Kelly is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 10pm on Bravo.
  • Alfonso Ribeiro (In the House/The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso will be on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Jim Rash (Community/Help Me Help You/Thanks/Katie Joplin) - Jim appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • MC Lyte (Partners in Rhyme/Half & Half) - MC shares her journey from rapper and entrepreneur to actress in the new sitcom Partners in Rhyme on Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Nick Kroll (Big Mouth/The League/Cavemen) - Nick stops by to chat about his new stand-up comedy special, Little Big Boy, on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jurnee Smollett (Wanda at Large/On Our Own) - Jurnee talks about her new film Lou on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Drew Carey (The Drew Carey Show/The Good Life) - Drew talks about The Price Is Right Anniversary on NBC's Today in the 10am hour.
  • Sarah Jessica Parker (And Just Like That.../Divorce/Sex and the City/Square Pegs), Bette Midler (Bette) and Kathy Najimy (King of the Hill/Veronica's Closet) - Sarah, Bette and Kathy talk about Hocus Pocus 2 on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am and on ABC's GMA 3: What You Need to Know at 1pm.


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

Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release) The Neighborhood - Season Four Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season The Adventues of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Six

05/03 - No Activity - Season Three
05/13 - The Donna Reed Show - The Complete Seasons 1-5 (Time Life)
05/31 - Becker - The Complete Series (2022 Release)
06/14 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Eleventh Season
06/14 - Hacks - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/14 - Rutherford Falls - Season One (Blu-ray) (DVD)
06/21 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season One / The Complete Season Two
07/19 - The Neighborhood - Season Four
07/19 - Reno 911! - The Hunt for QAnon (Blu-ray) (DVD)
07/26 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Three / The Complete Season Four
08/16 - And Just Like That... - The Complete First Season (Warner Bros. - Canada)
08/16 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Fourth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/06 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fifth Season (Blu-ray) (DVD)
09/20 - Kim's Convenience - The Complete Series
09/27 - The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - The Complete Season Five / The Complete Season Six
More Recent and Upcoming TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

09/29 - Epix Rebrands to MGM+ in January 2023; Jack's Back with More Kindness on Apple TV+
09/28 - Mike Epps Gets HGTV Series; black-ish's Marsai Martin Headlines Paramount+ Comedy Film
09/27 - COZI TV Fall 2022 Schedule; FX Announces New Drama Premiere Date for Hulu
09/26 - Tudum: A Netflix Global Fan Event Recap; The White Lotus Season 2 Premieres Oct. 30
09/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 26, 2022)
09/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Addams Family Based Series Wednesday; Peacock Cancels Queer as Folk
09/23 - FX Renews Reservation Dogs for Season 3; Stars of Young Sheldon Head to The Price Is Right at Night
09/22 - Bounce Dramedy Finding Happy Premieres Saturday (Sept. 24); Roku's Kevin Hart Comedy Adds More Stars for Season 2
09/21 - ABC Extends Jimmy Kimmel Live Through Season 23; Peacock Orders Animated Comedy
09/20 - CBS Announces New Holiday Special; The CW Halloween Specials
09/19 - Rewind TV's Sabrina, The Teenage Witch-O-Ween Halloween Marathon; Iliza Shlesinger Returns to Netflix
09/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 19, 2022)
09/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Saturday Night Live Adds New Cast Members for New Season; Streaming Media Mergers in the Works?
09/16 - The CW's A Waltons Thanksgiving Airs Nov. 20; Rewind TV's A Week of Very Special Episodes Includes Diff'rent Strokes, Facts of Life and More; Remembering Mark Miller of Please Don't Eat the Daisies
09/15 - Antenna TV Celebrates The Bewitched Witch-O-Ween Marathon; Avenue 5 Returns October 10 on HBO
09/14 - Rick and Morty Season 6 Premiere Is a Hit; FX Brings Comedy Specials to Hulu
09/13 - 74th Primetime Emmy Awards Winners; HBO Max Renews Rap Sh!t for Season 2
09/12 - MeTV Celebrates M*A*S*H 50th Anniversary with The Best by Farr; The Simpsons Season 33 Coming to Disney+
09/11 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 12, 2022)
09/10 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Laverne Cox Comedy from Norman Lear Lands Freevee Series Order; Fox Looking Into Adult Animated Drama
09/09 - Dancing with the Stars Season 31 Cast; Great Scott! Back to the Future Reunion at New York Comic Con This Fall
09/08 - COZI TV Acquires Monk, Bones and Las Vegas; HBO Max Renews Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin
09/07 - Rewind TV Fall 2022 Schedule; Back to School Abbott Elementary Marathon
09/06 - Antenna TV Fall 2022 Schedule; BUZZR Celebrates 50 Years of The Price Is Right
09/05 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2022
09/04 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 5, 2022)
09/03 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeff Garlin's Character to Exit The Goldbergs; Peacock Cancels Rutherford Falls
09/02 - Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween 2022 Schedule; Sherman's Showcase Returns for Season 2 on IFC and AMC+
09/01 - Netflix Sitcom with Michelle Buteau Rounds Out Cast; HBO Max Renews Harley Quinn for Season 4
08/31 - Antenna TV's Welcome Back to School Marathon; Apple TV+ Is Trying for More Comedy
08/30 - Netflix's Blockbuster Gets Premiere Date; Teri Hatcher Returns to Hallmark
08/29 - ABC Fall Preview Special Airs Sept. 14; Acapulco Returns in October on Apple TV+