Yesterday I presented a general overview of this year's series pick-ups. Today let's focus on comedy (since drama is the same doctor shows/lawyer shows/cop shows/sci fi shows/procedurals/and spin-offs of the above with names of cities tacked onto the title).
ABC’s MODERN FAMILY is getting good buzz. Advertisers found it “flat out hilarious”. I’m not quite sure Don Draper would know a great comedy but still, it’s encouraging. MODERN FAMILY is a mockumentary about three suburban families.
For ABC’s comedy night, all four entries feature actors who have already starred in at least one hit comedy – Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Heaton, Ed O’Neill and Courtney Cox. Yes, they're playing it safe but give them credit -- they could have gone with Alex Karras, Jeff Conaway, Susan Clark, and Fran Drescher.
FOX is being a little more chancy. Their midseason entry, BROTHERS stars Michael Strahan, whose previous acting experience was playing defensive end for the New York Giants.
Every year there seems to be two shows that are exactly the same. This year it’s COUGAR TOWN with Courtney Cox as an older woman dating a younger man and CBS’ ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE starring Jenna Elfman as an older woman dating a younger man. I’m sure this was a wildly popular premise among women network executives.
In maybe the weirdest pick-up, FOX renewed ‘TIL DEATH for a full season. Last year it did so poorly that FOX yanked it off the schedule in November and there are still a ton of episodes that remain unaired on top of the 22 new episodes just ordered. As long as FOX never puts 'TIL DEATH back on its schedule it could go for ten more years.
Gone is ACCORDING TO JIM (there IS a God!) and SCRUBS will be back but Zach Braff will only appear in six episodes. The industry is now nicknaming it AfterSCRUBS. I have some AfterMASH scripts if they need them. Just change "Soon-Li" to "Elliot".
NBC, once a broadcasting network, will be shelving 30 ROCK until midseason. Uh, it wins the Emmy for Best Comedy every year. Wouldn’t you sort of want that show on the air? Watch. The minute their first new show tanks it’ll be back on the schedule. So I’m guessing October 1st.
My best wishes to all the writers of all these shows. Keep the torch lit. The foundation of television has always been comedy (whether they know it or not). In success it's Jed Clampett hitting oil. And now more than ever, boy do we need to laugh.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
By Ken Levine at 10:31 AM