News Briefs: NBC Is Done Making "Sophisticated" Comedies

By Tim Surette

Jul 25, 2012


... NBC held its TCA (Television Critics Association) session today, and the network has pretty much decided to give up on the whole good comedy thing. Once home to smash hits Seinfeld, Cheers, and Friends, and currently home to critically praised series Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and Community, NBC will steer its comedy production away from "sophisticated" sitcoms in an effort to "broaden the audience." Translation: Expect a lot more shots to the balls and fewer things that are actually funny from NBC in the future. NBC boss Bob Greenblatt also said that comedies Whitney and Up All Night were "steps in the right direction" of where they want their comedy to be. Yep, here comes a new era of Must-Wince TV. It should be noted that Greenblatt also did not rule out extending Community's upcoming fourth season, but of course he's going to say that. [Time]


... Hey, vampires are still a thing, right? NBC, always with its thumb on the pulse of pop culture's corpse, has ordered a new undead drama Dracula to series with a 10-episode order. Former The Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers will play the fanged one in 1890s London as he gets revenge on people who ruined his life and falls in love with some hot chicks. [Deadline Hollywood]

... The adult cast members of Modern Family are in the process of renegotiating their contracts, and to show they mean business, they've teamed up and sued producer 20th Century Fox Television. Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sofia Vergara, and Ed O'Neill are all asking for much more money than they're being offered, which is already a lot of money. But Modern Family is a gigantor megahit that's making ABC and 20th Century Fox a lot of skrilla, so there should be enough to go around. The cast is also suing the Emmys for not having enough Emmys for them. [THR]

... Discovery has greenlit Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice, a docudrama from the creators of Deadliest Catch. It will follow tough guys as they dig under the ice for gold instead of making their fortunes like real men: by selling Beanie Babies on eBay. [EW]

... MTV is bringing back House of Style, AGAIN. The fashion-centric program, originally hosted by Cindy Crawford, will return October 9. No host has been announced, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he or she will be hot as balls. [EW]

... VH1 has given a series order to Bounce, a scripted series about professional dancers for a pro basketball team. Here's a description for you: "Pete Davenport (Dean Cain) is the former all-star who’s come back to coach his old team only to have to contend with the girls stealing the spotlight and distracting his players." And that's all you need to know about that. [Deadline Hollywood]

... HBO has ordered a pilot for Hello Ladies starring Ricky Gervais' buddy and The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant. The comedy will follow Merchant as he tries to find love in Los Angeles. [Deadline Hollywood]


... Do you love awesome casting for awesome shows? Then put on your seat belt and tighten your backpack straps and polish your shoes because you're going to love this! Person of Interest will bring in two Tim Surette favorites as guest stars next season: Ken Leung (Lost) and Margo Martindale (Emmy winner for Justified). No details on either role were revealed. Leung's appearance was first announced at Comic-Con. [TV Guide]

... Alcatraz and Sons of Anarchy vet Sarah Jones has joined the cast of CBS's good-looking drama Vegas. She'll play the daughter of a Chicago gangster who works in a casino. She will continue to capture criminals who've time-traveled from famous prisons in my heart, though. Long live Rebecca Madsen! [Deadline Hollywood]

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • jonjackson16503 Mar 20, 2015

    I watched all the "critically acclaimed" comedies of NBC...I never laughed once. Its fine being sophisticated when doing science....but comedy should have one key thing....IT SHOULD BE FUNNY...30 rock sucks...parks and rec really really sucks(what is funny about that blond old lady saying "yes"????!!!!), community would be funny if chevy chase fell down more..but he doesn't so it sucks..the office(never laughed) hated the pretentious charaters, take all those shows the only way they would be funny is if Stewie popped up in them and killed all those pretentious self involved PC bots on those shows.

    If i don't is not a comedy...all those programs are pure sheet

  • Shreela Jul 27, 2012

    Margo's pretty cool, but I want Guererro, of Human Target, to guest in Person of Interest!

  • MichaelCurran1 Jul 27, 2012

    NBC makes the worst cancel vs air decisions of any network on TV which is why they have flushed themselves downed the ratings toilet.

  • Dirk13 Jul 27, 2012

    This is not the first time NBC has made almost this exact same eye rolling statement, except the last time they did it was light of an actual successful comedy designed around low class, er, I mean, "blue collar" viewers. My Name Is Earl. NBC was big on "No more Frasier style comedy" type comments back then, and it made me depressed, but then they flat out cancelled My Name Is Earl kind of out of the blue (I like Jason Lee, but the show was pretty stupid), and started making smart shows again, many of which largely have thrived.

    So I have to ask NBC...why u so retarded about stuff?

  • TaliaMaldonad Jul 26, 2012

    i believe the way TV shows measure their success must change, critically aclaimed and very popular shows suffer because their watchers have moved to different mediums other than television to watch them, so good TV goes aways, while mediocre TV begins to seem like the winning formula ( but it isn't ) and who

  • niedermayer27 Jul 26, 2012

    Screw NBC, they cancelled Awake.

  • silverswan1 Jul 26, 2012

    I hear that, next to Awake and Parks, Grimm was only thing left to dvr. Network greed pits shows in same time slot and nights as everything else and surprised when shows fail. lol Awake was perfect! Much like Missing, had a major film star . Neilsen needs to cater to the working class who can't dvr everything and rely on Hulu to catch up, they pay cable bill, Dish etc that help pay networks to entertain . Time to start counting dvr and Hulu etc as ratings markers! This is 2012 and Neilsen stuck in the 50's. sad

  • jaden84 Jul 26, 2012

    Wait Whitney was a step into the right direction? Seriously!? LOL! Wow.

  • Fallon21 Jul 26, 2012

    NBC has had so many good shows, so WHY would they want to dumb it down for crap. Whitney is such a terrible show--we do not need MORE of those.

  • silverswan1 Jul 26, 2012

    I want to see Weeds actor on his new Vet show, But of course on a Wednesday. One of the busiest TV nights. Sunday thru Wed and in Fall Thursdays super busy. In Fall will now only have Last Man and Fringe on Fridays, CW and Grimm both moving. auuugh! When Fringe exits, what is left? LOL good luck networks.

  • CalumRobertson Jul 26, 2012

    "NBC will steer its comedy production away from 'sophisticated' sitcoms in an effort to 'broaden the audience.'"

    I can't believe he worded it in that way, he's essentially calling audiences stupid.

  • Shikady Jul 26, 2012

    I don't care...they fired Harmon...NBC is dead to me.

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