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

Wednesday, March 3

The Goldbergs - "Mr. Ships Ahoy" (ABC, 8:00PM ET/PT)
As William Penn’s new Quaker Warden, Beverly is thrilled to have co-workers for the first time and sets out to make them all love her. To her dismay, it’s more difficult to win them over than she anticipated, as her reputation of being a difficult school parent precedes her. Meanwhile, Geoff competes in the “Mr. Ships Ahoy” beauty pageant to prove to Erica that he can be seen as desirable by other women.

American Housewife - "The Guardian" (ABC, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Katie and Greg secretly put Kathryn (Wendie Malick) through a series of tests to see if she would make a good guardian for Anna-Kat in the unlikely event something should happen to them. Meanwhile, after tracking down J.D.’s (Jake Choi) potential egg donors, Tami (Holly Robinson Peete) and Katie scheme to learn more about them.

The Conners - "A Stomach Ache, a Heartbreak and a Grave Mistake" (ABC, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Mark is stressed out and feeling sick, convinced he has COVID-19. Meanwhile, Becky and Harris team up to confront Josh who has been “ghosting” Harris; and when Jackie visits Roseanne’s grave, she finds an appalling headstone right next to it and sets out to make it right.

Call Your Mother - "Feelings" (ABC, 9:30PM ET/PT)
Jean and Danny’s relationship grows complicated emotionally and physically as they try to resist their feelings for one another until his divorce is final. As Celia is moving into Freddie’s apartment, Freddie is disappointed to learn that Celia plans to keep her place as a backup plan, causing some hard conversations between the two.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of March 1)

Wednesday, March 3

  • Ben Schwartz (Space Force/Parks and Recreation) - Watch Ben on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS. He will also be on The Drew Barrymore Show, so check your local listings.
  • Annaleigh Ashford (B Positive) - Annaleigh appears on Watch What Happens: Live at 3:30am on Bravo.
  • Kyra Sedgwick (Call Your Mother) - Kyra is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Arsenio Hall (Arsenio) - Arsenio talks about Coming 2 America on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) - Melissa appears on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) and Dax Shepard (Bless This Mess) - Kristen and Dax are guests on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
  • Jermaine Fowler (Superior Donuts) - Jermaine will be on The Real, so check your local listings.
  • Awkwafina (Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens) - Awkwafina appears on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Hillary Duff (Younger/Lizzie McGuire) - Hillary talks about My Brave Little Girl on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.


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

The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series

10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
11/26 - Man with a Plan - Season Four
12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season
01/22 - Corporate - Season 2
01/22 - Corporate - Season 3
02/02 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In - The Complete Series (2021 Retail Release)
02/16 - Fam - The Complete Series
02/23 - Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series
03/02 - Blue Mountain State - The Complete Series
03/02 - Happy Together - The Complete Series
03/02 - Rick and Morty - The Complete Seasons 1-4 (DVD) (Blu-ray)

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

03/03 - Fox Animation Domination Adds New Night This Summer; Bill Nye Returns with New Series on Peacock
03/02 - Freeform Spring and Summer 2021 Updates; discovery+ Gets Back to the Future Expedition
03/01 - 78th Golden Globe Winners; Soleil Moon Frye Hulu Documentary Premieres March 12
02/28 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of March 1, 2021)
02/27 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Paramount+ Sets Bold Plans; No Third Season for Twilight Zone
02/26 - Fri-Yay: CBS's Mom Announces End, Marking Another End of An Era for Sitcoms; Hulu Orders More Shrill and Love, Victor
02/25 - Frasier Revival Coming to Paramount+, While Final Season of Younger to Premiere on Paramount+; The CW Spring 2021 Schedule
02/24 - TBS Comedy Chad Launches April 6; Netflix Drama Raising Dion Adds to Cast
02/23 - Norman Lear Sets Two Series for IMDb TV; Nick Jonas to Pull Double Duty on SNL This Saturday
02/22 - Jamie Foxx Returns with Multi-Camera Sitcom; Mythic Quest Season 2 Launches in May
02/21 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 22, 2021)
02/20 - SitcomsOnline Digest: South Park Plans Second Pandemic Special; Mom Coming to an End After Eight Seasons
02/19 - Fri-Yay: Young Rock Delivers Promise for Sitcom Ratings; The Moodys Returns April 1 on Fox Replacing Call Me Kat
02/18 - CBS Renews 2 Comedies, Cancels Mom and Drama NCIS: New Orleans; Peacock Bulks Up on Original Series
02/17 - Punky Brewster Gets WWE Stars; DuckTales to End with 90-Minute Series Finale
02/16 - NBC Midseason Pilot Review: Young Rock - Premieres Tonight (Feb. 16); TBS Version of Wipeout Premieres April 1
02/15 - Netflix Sitcom The Crew Starring Kevin James Launches; Sex and the City Now Remastered on HBO Max
02/14 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 15, 2021)
02/13 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Coming to an End; Chappelle's Show Returns to Netflix
02/12 - Fri-Yay: Brooklyn Nine-Nine Ending After 8 Seasons; HBO Max Orders Comedy from Issa Rae
02/11 - HBO Max Orders Animated Comedies; Peacock Reunites The Best Man Franchise Into Limited Series
02/10 - NBC Sets March 25 for Superstore Finale; Search Party Renewed for 5th Season
02/09 - COZI TV's The Office Valentine's Day Marathon; HBO Max's Jean Smart Comedy Announces Casting
02/08 - The Jetsons Coming to the MeTV Network; Lana Condor to Star in Netflix Comedy Series
02/07 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 8, 2021)
02/06 - SitcomsOnline Digest: More Guest Hosts Lined Up for Jeopardy; Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Reboot?
02/05 - Fri-Yay: Has the Sitcom Revival Bubble Finally Burst?; NBC Announces Rest of Spring 2021 Schedule
02/04 - 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Nominees; The CW Renews 12 Dramas for 2021-22
02/03 - New Sitcom Joining AMC Network's Streaming Service; Antenna TV Valentine's Day Marathon and Birthday Celebration Continues
02/02 - New Sonic Series Coming to Netflix; Remembering Dustin Diamond, Hal Holbrook and Sitcom Producer Allan Burns
02/01 - Report: Antenna TV Launching New Secondary Companion Network; Season Premiere of New Amsterdam Premieres March 2 on NBC
01/31 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of February 1, 2021)