Friday, January 22, 2021

Fri-Yay: The Network Sitcom Is In Crisis - Can It Be Saved?; TBS Announces Dates for New Series Chad and Return of American Dad!

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!

The Conners

by Vincent

For many years, the network sitcom has been a staple of TV. Even now, in our streaming age, streaming services are filled with network sitcoms from present and past, and often, in the case of shows like The Office, Seinfeld, and Friends, they're among the most popular shows of their respective streaming services. And yet, on network TV, there is a serious lack of hit network sitcoms. Even reliable hits from past years, like The Conners, The Goldbergs and Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon, have dropped to series lows this year. While ratings in general continue to slide downwards, ratings for network sitcoms are falling faster than network averages. There are some genuine drama hits on network TV, from established series like This Is Us, Grey's Anatomy and NBC's Chicago trilogy to newer favorites like 9-1-1 and Station 19. And that's not even including reality and game shows, where Fox's The Masked Singer is reigning as the most popular show on TV. But as of right now, there is no big, landmark sitcom on network television. There's no Big Bang Theory or Modern Family or The Office that stands as a hallmark of the network that props all other shows up. There's some modestly-rated, decent-sized hits (like the aforementioned shows), but no major smashes. And even if you take critical acclaim into account, nothing is drawing raves the way shows like The Good Place did just a few years ago.

So will this continue? I have to imagine there will be a landmark show to break through sooner or later. Sitcoms have gone through rough patches before - most recently in the time between Friends ended and The Big Bang Theory and The Office took off to new heights, there was no real smash hit sitcoms, just some modest hits. Still, the TV landscape has changed so much that the next sitcom hit might not look like the hits of the past. Perhaps it will be a streaming series - there have been some successful sitcoms on streaming services, like Grace and Frankie and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but nothing blockbuster to the levels of the biggest streaming shows. The closest has been possibly Schitt's Creek, which is actually a cable sitcom (Pop TV) but took off on Netflix. So what will be the next big sitcom hit? The networks certainly hope it'll be one of their own. But has TV changed too much for a broad, hit comedy to make it? Only time will tell.


Chad

TNT, TBS and truTV unveil March and April premiere dates for three new and two returning shows. The programming slate includes TBS' new single-camera comedy Chad (April 6) and returning top-rated animated comedy American Dad! (April 19). Two new series join truTV's line-up, including limited series Double Cross with Blake Griffin (March 19-20) and magic prank show Big Trick Energy (April 15). Rounding out April, as previously announced, the 27th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards(R) will be simulcast on April 4 on both TNT and TBS. Chad, a single-camera comedy, follows a 14-year-old pubescent Persian boy (Nasim Pedrad) as he navigates his first year of high school on a mission to become popular. Chad's friendships and sanity are pushed to the limits as he uses every tactic at his disposal to befriend the cool kids, while enduring his mother's new dating life and reconciling with his cultural identity. Pedrad, who first made her mark on Saturday Night Live, is also creator, writer, executive producer and showrunner on Chad. The series will air Tuesdays at 10:30pm.

American Dad!

American Dad! centers on super patriotic CIA agent Stan Smith (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and the misadventures of his unconventional family in Langley Falls, VA. Stan applies the same drastic measures used in his job at the CIA to his home life, where Stan's blissfully unaware wife, Francine (Wendy Schaal), has an unfaltering loyalty that makes her blind to his unabashed arrogance. His left-wing activist daughter Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane), however, doesn't let him off so easily - and knows just how to push her father's buttons. Hayley's brother is the geeky-yet-confident Steve (Scott Grimes), a kid who spends his time playing video games and obsessing about the opposite sex. The Smith cabinet is rounded out by two rather unconventional members: Roger (MacFarlane), a sassy, sarcastic and routinely inappropriate space alien, and Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker), an attention-starved goldfish with the brain of a German Olympic skier. The series will air Mondays at 10pm.


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Tuesday, October 26

The Last O.G. - "The First Hump Is the Hardest" (TBS, 10:30PM ET/PT)
With Wavy's help, Tray tracks down the person who shot him to set things straight; Jasmine has second thoughts about her relationship with Tray.

Tyler Perry's House of Payne - "Bearer of Bad News" (BET, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Calvin wants his son in his wedding, but Miranda might not be on board.

Tyler Perry's Assisted Living - "Mr. Big Stuffed" (BET, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Mr. Brown lets business success go to his head, but he gets taken down a peg when the residents threaten to move out.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 25)

Tuesday, October 26

  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Catch Drew on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 11:35pm on NBC.
  • Alyssa Milano (Who's the Boss?/Romantically Challenged) - Alyssa appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT. She will also be on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.
  • Victoria Jackson (Strip Mall/Romeo!) - Victoria is a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Whitney Cummings (Whitney) - Whitney guest hosts The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Tori Spelling (Mystery Girls/So Notorious) - Tori appears on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
  • Alan Cumming (Schmigadoon!) - Alan is a guest on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
  • Tisha Campbell (Dr. Ken/Rita Rocks/My Wife and Kids/The Jamie Foxx Show/Martin)- Tisha talks about Netflix's Inside Job on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June-October)

Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release) Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)

06/08 - The Critic - The Complete Series
06/08 - Fuller House - The Fifth and Final Season
06/08 - Fuller House - The Complete Series
06/08 - Our Cartoon President - Season 3
06/15 - The Office - Season 1 (Blu-ray) / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9
06/15 - Parks and Recreation - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
07/07 - No Activity - Season 2
07/13 - The Unicorn - Season 2
07/20 - Head of the Class - The Complete Third Season
07/27 - Family Ties - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
07/27 - Hot in Cleveland - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
07/27 - The Neighborhood - Season Three
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Deluxe Edition (100 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/20 - The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet - Standard Edition (50 Episodes) (Time Life)
08/24 - The Jim Gaffigan Show - Season 2
09/07 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Fourth Season (Blu-ray)
10/19 - Maude - The Complete Series (2021 Release)
More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

10/26 - COZI TV Acquires Munster, Go Home Movie for Halloween Marathon; Peacock is Killing It with Craig Robinson
10/25 - Remembering Peter Scolari of Bosom Buddies and Newhart; Mythic Quest Gets 2 Season Renewal
10/24 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 25, 2021)
10/23 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Orders Lopez vs. Lopez Pilot; Tyler Perry's Sistas Renewed for Season Four
10/22 - Fri-Yay: Are Ghosts and The Wonder Years the Saving Graces of Network Comedy?; Ghosts Receives Full Season Order
10/21 - Butch Patrick Hosts Halloween Monster Bash on Classic Reruns TV; Harlem Starring Meagan Good Premieres Dec. 3
10/20 - Fox Announces Special Post NFL January Premieres; TBS Comedy Wipeout Returns in January for Season 2
10/19 - One Final Family Reunion on Netflix; Apple TV+ Announces Premiere Date for Harriet the Spy
10/18 - GAC Family Acquires Classic Sony Sitcoms; Remembering Betty Lynn from The Andy Griffith Show
10/17 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 18, 2021)
10/16 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Could a Looming Strike Shut Down TV Production?; GAC Family Acquires Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Silver Spoons, and More
10/15 - Dickinson Final Season Date Announced; Superstar: Robin Williams to Air Next Week (Oct. 20)
10/14 - Antenna TV's Bewitched 24-Hour Halloween Marathon; Rewind TV's Sabrina Witch-O-Ween Marathon
10/13 - Head of the Class Reboot Premieres Nov. 4, Guest Stars Robin Givens; The Bear Coming to FX
10/12 - CBS Picks Up First 2 New Series for Full Seasons; On My Block Spinoff Series Cast Set
10/11 - Netflix Orders That '90s Show Featuring Red and Kitty; Nash Bridges Movie Premieres Nov. 27 on USA Network
10/10 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 11, 2021)
10/09 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Netflix Orders That '70s Show Spinoff Featuring Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith; Nash Bridges Revival Movie Premiere Date Set
10/08 - Fri-Yay: CBS’s Ghosts Is the Most Interesting New Comedy of the Year; Insecure to Hold Festival for Final Season
10/07 - Mini Desperate Housewives Reunion on Hallmark Christmas Movie; The Kids Tonight Show Premieres Oct. 14
10/06 - And Just Like That... We Get a Premiere Date; The CW Holiday Specials Schedule
10/05 - New Peanuts Holiday Special on Apple TV+, PBS to Air Classic Holiday Specials; COZI TV Acquires Heartland
10/04 - Disney Channel Orders Season 5 of Raven's Home; Freeform Picks Up Phoebe Robinson Comedy
10/03 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of October 4, 2021)
10/02 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 11 Premiere Date Set; Lori Loughlin Returns to TV Role
10/01 - Fri-Yay: The Fall 2021 Sitcom Line-up Is Pretty Bare; Bounce Renews Johnson for Season 2
09/30 - It's a Wonderful Lifetime Expands with 35 New Movies; Hulu & Lifetime Acquire Castle
09/29 - Curb Your Enthusiasm Returns Yet Again; Archer Returning for Lucky Season 13 on FXX
09/28 - Nick at Nite Acquires Mike & Molly; NBC Orders Night Court to Series
09/27 - MeTV Network Halloween Schedule; HBO Max Renews The Other Two for Third Season
09/26 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 27, 2021)