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

Sunday, August 9

Last Man Standing - "Yours, Wine, and Ours" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
After a chat with Bonnie, Mike struggles to balance his need for "me time" and finding common hobbies with Vanessa.

Duncanville - "Witch Day" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The town celebrates its annual Witch Day, which involves pronouncing a mortified Duncan the "town virgin" for the big ceremony; Annie and Jack steal a dead woman's chili recipe.

The Simpsons - "Warrin' Priests" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Bode, a young charismatic new preacher, comes to town and shakes things up at church, Reverend Lovejoy investigates his mysterious past.

Bless the Harts - "Cremains of the Day" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Violet, David and Leonard take Wayne on a ghost hunt to cure his fear of ghosts; Jenny and Betty honor Jenny's late father on his favorite holiday.

Bob's Burgers - "Three Girls and a Little Wharfy" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Louise skeptically joins Jessica and fifth-grader Megan in their search for Wharfy, a mythical sea monster; Bob takes an online master class by a world-renowned chef.

Family Guy - "Absolutely Babulous" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
When Stewie receives a participation medal in his school's toddler games, he begins to question everything he has ever won; Peter causes a fight between Lois' parents and must repair the damage he caused.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of August 3)

Friday, August 7

  • Joel McHale (Community/The Great Indoors) - Joel guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Laura Benanti (The Detour/Go On) - Laura is a guest on a repeat of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
  • Josh Gad (Avenue 5/1600 Penn/Back to You) - Josh appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
  • Tony Shalhoub (We Are Men/Wings) - Tony is a guest on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
  • Regina King (227) - Regina appears on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Julie Bowen (Modern Family) - Julie is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Lena Waithe (Master of None) - Lena appears on a repeat of The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Eva Marcille (Born Again Virgin) - Eva guest hosts a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Kim Fields (Living Single/The Facts of Life/Baby, I'm Back) - Kim is a guest on a repeat of The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Sofia Vergara (Modern Family/The Knights of Prosperity/Hot Properties) - Sofia appears on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Terry Crews (Brooklyn Nine-Nine/Are We There Yet/Everybody Hates Chris) - Terry is a guest on a repeat of The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Dennis Quaid (Merry Happy Whatever) - Dennis talks about his new podcast The Dennissance on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly is a guest on a repeat of Tamron Hall, so check your local listings.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) - Christopher talks about Hulu's Maxxx on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Raven-SymonĂ© (Raven's Home/That's So Raven/Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/The Cosby Show) - Raven-SymonĂ© talks about her new album The Reintroduction on a repeat of Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (April/May/June/July/August)

Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven

04/07 - Cheers - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
04/14 - Police Squad! - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
04/14 - The Righteous Gemstones - The Complete First Season
04/21 - Step by Step - The Complete Seventh and Final Season (WBShop.com)
05/05 - Kidding - Season 2
05/19 - The Good Place - The Final (Fourth) Season
05/19 - The Good Place - The Complete Series - Collector's Edition (Blu-ray)
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
05/26 - Silicon Valley - The Complete Series
06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


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08/04 - Laff TV Acquires How I Met Your Mother; Lifetime Announces Stars for It's a Wonderful Lifetime for 2020
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07/28 - Freeform's Love in the Time of Corona Gets Premiere Date; ABC Remembers Regis with Primetime Special Tonight (July 28)
07/27 - Archer Gets Season 11 Premiere Date on FXX; The Fugitive Reboot on Quibi Trailer
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07/24 - Fri-Yay: Two More COVID-19 Remote Reunions: 30 Rock and Happy Endings; Netflix Renews Top 10 Series Sweet Magnolias for Season 2
07/23 - Fox Announces Fall 2020 Premiere Date for Animated Comedies; Syfy Acquires John Cena & Kat Dennings Animated Comedy
07/22 - HBO Orders Bridget Everett Comedy Series; Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Cast to Reunite on YouTube
07/21 - Happy Endings Cast Reunite, See Episode Here; Jake Johnson Shooting Hoops on Netflix
07/20 - Netflix Is About to Get Even with Comedy; ABC's United We Fall Gets Encore
07/19 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 20, 2020)
07/18 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Affiliates Refuse to Air 30 Rock: A One Time Special; Golden Girls House For Sale
07/17 - Fri-Yay: Peacock Launches, Thoughts So Far; Stay Calm with New Series with A-Listers
07/16 - Hallmark Channel Announces Renewals and Slate for 2021; Michael Che Coming to HBO Max for Improv Series
07/15 - ABC Names Tyra Banks as New Dancing with the Stars Host; CBS Fall 2020 Schedule Change for Wednesdays
07/14 - Emily in Paris Moves to Netflix; Ravi Patel's HBO Max Comedy Docuseries Premieres Aug. 27
07/13 - Get Woke on Hulu with New Comedy; Trailer for Tig n' Seek Released by HBO Max
07/12 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of July 13, 2020)
07/11 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fox Renews The Moodys for Second Season; NBC Preparing to Put Peacock Into Flight
07/10 - Fri-Yay: Never Have I Ever, Netflix's Best Sitcom; Ramy Gets Season 3 on Hulu
07/09 - NBC Reviving Weakest Link; truTV's I'm Sorry Gets Charitable