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

Monday, May 17

The Neighborhood - "Welcome to the Surprise" (CBS, 8:00PM ET/PT)
When Calvin receives an unconventional birthday gift involving his father, Dave suggests they spend the day celebrating in a way that honors the late Butler patriarch. Also, an unexpected development changes the Johnsons’ lives forever.

Bob Hearts Abishola - "God Accepts Venmo" (CBS, 8:30PM ET/PT)
While comparing their busy schedules, Bob and Abishola realize the perfect date for their wedding is in just three weeks and enlist their family and friends to help plan their big day.

Breeders - "No Power Part II" (FX, 10:00PM ET/PT)
On the day of Leah and Alex's wedding, Paul and Ally find they have only a few hours to deal with a family crisis, leading Paul to make the hardest decision of his life.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of May 17)

Monday, May 17

  • Patton Oswalt (A.P. Bio/The Goldbergs/The King of Queens) - Watch Patton on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
  • Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet) - Timothy appears on Conan at 11pm on TBS.
  • Billy Crystal (The Comedians/Soap) - Billy is a guest on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.
  • Jerry O'Connell (We Are Men/Carpoolers/My Secret Identity) - Jerry guest co-hosts The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Denise Richards (Blue Mountain State) - Denise will be on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
  • Scott Foley (The Goodwin Games/A.U.S.A./Scrubs) - Scott appears on LIVE! with Kelly and Ryan, so check your listings.
  • Nick Jonas (Jonas) - Nick is a guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, so check your local listings.
  • Drew Barrymore (Santa Clarita Diet) - Drew guest hosts the 8am hour of CBS This Morning.
  • Rob Corddry (The Unicorn/Ballers/The Winner) - Rob talks about Top Gear America on Reality Check at 4:30pm.
  • Christopher Meloni (Surviving Jack/The Fanelli Boys) and Dylan McDermott (No Activity/L.A. to Vegas) - Christopher and Dylan talk about Law & Order: Organized Crime on Access Daily, so check your local listings.
  • Regina Hall (Black Monday/Grandfathered/Second Generation Wayans) - Regina talks about season three of Black Monday on NBC's Today in the 9am hour.


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

Corporate - Season 2 Fam - The Complete Series Betty White's Pet Set - The Complete Series Happy Together - The Complete Series Til Death - The Complete Series

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)
04/20 - 'Til Death - The Complete Series
05/11 - Dead to Me - Season Two

More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

05/17 - Fox Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Friends Reunion on HBO Max, Every Episode Marathon on TBS
05/16 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 17, 2021)
05/15 - SitcomsOnline Digest: ABC Cancels Several Series; Quibi Returns Via Roku
05/14 - NBC Upfront 2021-22: Fall 2021 Schedule; Fri-Yay: ABC and CBS Comedy Renewal Decisions
05/13 - Billy Porter and More Join The Proud Family Revival; HBO Max Orders Gordita Chronicles
05/12 - FXX Orders Animated Comedy Little Demon; The CW to Revive Legends of the Hidden Temple
05/11 - Fox 2021-22 Updates Includes Comedy News; ABC Renews Grey's Anatomy and Station 19 for 2021-22, NBC Orders Dark Comedy Pilot
05/10 - Netflix Sitcom The Upshaws Premieres on Wednesday (May 12); Hallmark Channel Sitcom Schedule Changes
05/09 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 10, 2021)
05/08 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Trailer Released for Upcoming Rugrats Reboot; Final Airdate Set for Conan
05/07 - Fri-Yay: Rolling Stone's 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time; Marion Cunningham Greatest Classic TV Mom in New Poll
05/06 - E! Reunites TV Casts in Reunion Road Trip; Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Mr. Corman on Apple TV+
05/05 - COZI TV's Roseanne Mother's Day Mom Genes Marathon; Conan's Final TBS Episode to Air June 24
05/04 - NBC Orders Night Court Revival to Pilot; House of Payne and Assisted Living Return May 25 and Ordered for Additional Season
05/03 - Young Rock and Kenan Set to Return for Season 2; Schmigadoon! A New Apple TV+ Comedy Coming This July
05/02 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of May 3, 2021)
05/01 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Night Court Reboot One Step Closer to Reality; IMDb TV Picks Up Comedy From My Name Is Earl Creator
04/30 - Fri-Yay: Rewind TV Offers Sitcom Lovers a Chance to Watch Their 80s/90s Faves; CBS Announces Season Finale Dates
04/29 - ABC Revises Summer Premieres and Finales, Announces Drama Finale Dates; IMDb TV Gets Greg Garcia Comedy
04/28 - Fox Producing New Flintstones Series Titled Bedrock; Sarah Silverman Joins Damon Wayans Jr. TBS Pilot
04/27 - Antenna TV's Companion Network, Rewind TV Launching September 1 with 80s and 90s Series; Remembering Sitcom Writer Bernie Kahn
04/26 - Disney Channel Orders Second Season of Time Travel Comedy; Selena Gomez Returning for 3rd Season of HBO Max Series
04/25 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 26, 2021)
04/24 - SitcomsOnline Digest: How I Met Your Mother Spinoff Picked Up at Hulu; Complete Series of Baywatch Arriving on DVD
04/23 - Fri-Yay: Netflix's New Jamie Foxx Sitcom Has Potential But Not Quite There Yet; Remembering Felix Silla of The Addams Family and James Hampton of F Troop
04/22 - Hulu Orders How I Met Your Father Starring Hilary Duff; Robot Chicken Takes on Riverdale
04/21 - Ted Lasso Returns July 23, Mark Your Calendars; ABC Comedies Season Finale Dates
04/20 - FXX's Dave Season 2 Premiere Set for June; HBO Max Orders Michael Che Comedy Series
04/19 - Starz Announces Courteney Cox Comedy; Fox Pulls The Moodys
04/18 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of April 19, 2021)
04/17 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Will Sasso Joins HBO Max Sitcom Pilot; Home Economics Off to Solid Start