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 / Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows

Friday, March 1

none scheduled

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of February 26)

Friday, March 1

  • Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Modern Family/The Class) - Watch Jesse on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Esther Povitsky (Dollface/Alone Together) - Esther appears on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Billy Eichner (Friends from College/Difficult People/Parks and Recreation), Nico Santos (Superstore) and Pete Holmes (How We Roll/Crashing) - Billy, Nico and Pete are guests on a repeat of After Midnight at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Sarah Paulson (Leap of Faith) - Sarah appears on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Punkie Johnson (Love Life) - Punkie is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
  • Reba McEntire (Reba/Malibu Country) - Drew is chatting with legendary singer Reba McEntire in Las Vegas about singing at the Super Bowl and how far she's come to be where she is now on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott talks about The Girls on the Bus on ABC's Good Morning America some time between 7-9am.


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

02/29 - Season 3 of Hacks Adds Star Power; Remembering Richard Lewis
02/28 - BUZZR Celebrates Women's History Month in March; 10th Anniversary of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
02/27 - Little House on the Prairie Big 5-0 Stunt on COZI TV; Netflix Orders Tires Starring Shane Gillis
02/26 - Hulu Orders Chad Powers Starring Glen Powell; Netflix's Mindy Kaling Produced Comedy Rounds Out Cast
02/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 26, 2024)
02/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Frasier Reboot Gets Second Season; Jimmy Kimmel Hints at End of Talk Show
02/23 - Paramount+ Renews Frasier for Season 2; Netflix Orders Series from Maid Showrunner
02/22 - 30th SAG Awards Presenters Announced; Jay Pharoah Heads to Fox
02/21 - SNL Loads Up for Next 3 Weeks; Tig Notaro Prime Video Special
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