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The Broadcast Networks Have Some Comedy Problems; We've Got Some Ideas on How to Fix Them


If you look at the weekly TV schedule, it sure seems like the broadcast networks really love sitcoms. By early November (once Raising Hope returns to Fox and Mike & Molly is back on CBS), there will be nearly 30 half-hours on the air in a given week, not including repeats. Assuming nothing changes, Fox and ABC will each have three nights featuring new comedy, followed by CBS with two and NBC with one. The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family are two major bright spots, but despite the clear commitment to the sitcom, every network has at least one comedy-centric problem area on its schedule. Although it's still early in the season, it's pretty clear that some of these programming blocks aren't really connecting with viewers, quality notwithstanding. Somewhat weirdly, the catalyst for each of these problem areas can be identified in the recent past. Let's break down some of the issues and think about what each network could do in the near future to clear everything up.


ABC


PROBLEM AREA(S): Tuesdays from 9pm to 10pm, Wednesdays at 9:30pm

Any time a network trots out an entirely new night of programming, it's a risk. But ABC has had such a messy situation on Tuesdays in recent years that it didn't have much of a choice this fall, especially with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. leading off the night at 8pm. After a big premiere, S.H.I.E.L.D. has dipped, though it's now mostly stable; as a result, ABC is hoping to build a nice hour of new comedy from 9pm to 10pm with The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife. Despite the fact that both shows are strong creatively, they're already down to 1.5 and 1.3 in the all-important 18-49 demo in live viewing. For comparison's sake, Happy Endings was doing about the same in that time period last year. And on Wednesdays, Super Fun Night debuted pretty well, but has already dropped from a 3.2 to a 2.1 in the 18-49 demo, and from 8.2 million viewers to 5.9 million viewers. 

Although Super Fun Night is doing better than the two Tuesday comedies, context is key here. The former airs after Modern Family, still one of the more popular shows on TV, and the latter two are on after a new drama that's doing fine against a whole lot of competition from The Voice and NCIS: Los Angeles. For whatever reason, ABC has yet to find—or stick with—a substantive partner with Modern FamilyHappy Endings did fairly well, but the network yanked it because it didn't gel with its lead-in... only to put a show like Super Fun Night in the same spot, which also doesn't gel with its lead-in. Meanwhile the two new family comedies on the network's schedule are airing on Tuesday. If you're thinking to yourself, "Huh, that doesn't make sense," you'd be correct. It doesn't make sense. 


SOLUTION: Pick one of the Tuesday comedies and swap it with Super Fun Night

Seems pretty clear to me. You could make a case for either one of the Tuesday-night shows as a Modern Family companion. Trophy Wife is probably the better tonal and experience fit (as Tim has been saying since the start of the season), but its ratings are so low that it's barely holding on as it is, so swapping it with Super Fun would seem odd from a PR standpoint. As a result, the spot should probably go to The Goldbergs. The series' '80s setting makes it a little awkward, fit-wise, but it's still better than whatever weird show Rebel Wilson is starring in at the moment. And maybe ABC could market S.H.I.E.L.D. and Super Fun Night as "The Things You Sort of Recognize from Movies Night!" 


CBS


PROBLEM AREA: Mondays

With CBS, the "problems" are always going to be relative. The Eyeball still has a number of successes all over the schedule—particularly on Thursdays, where the network's comedy block has successfully launched The Millers (a show that's consistently landed among the top 10 shows in all of TV in live 18-49 ratings) and The Crazy Ones. Both of those shows have grabbed back-nine orders already, only further cementing that CBS, not NBC, has the most must-see comedy block on Thursday nights. Two and a Half Men is still doing okay, despite sizable decreases in viewership. 

But on Monday? Things aren't looking so great. The network has already put We Are Men out to pasture, which makes it the second straight 8:30pm show to crater almost immediately while sandwiched between How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls (the first was Partners). We Are Men's axing wasn't much of a surprise, or that damaging on the surface, because the network had steady performer on the bench in Mike & Molly. However, there's a little more to it when you start to consider CBS's struggle to develop single-camera comedies (though The Crazy Ones might be the breakthrough) and the move that accompanied We Are Men's disposal: pushing 2 Broke Girls back to 8:30pm.

If you recall, CBS moved the low-paid ladies to 9pm at the beginning of last season and shifted Two and a Half Men to Thursdays because it thought that the young Kat Dennings comedy could lead that 9pm hour and help expand the Monday block. Just two years removed from 12 million viewers and big demo figures, 2 Broke Girls hit series lows on October 7, its last outing in the 9pm timeslot. The show ticked back up on October 14 when it aired behind How I Met Your Mother, but CBS clearly thought 2 Broke Girls was going to anchor its Monday comedies once HIMYM wrapped up for good. That's not really going to happen now. And while Mike & Molly will give CBS a stronger overall figure on Mondays, it's merely a solid performer and not a longterm solution, hit-wise. Mom is actually kind of interesting, but the overall problems with the schedule that leads into it have prevented audiences from checking in with the show (or with Hostages), like they might have done a few years ago. 


SOLUTION: Keep an eye on The Millers—and ultimately consider moving it to Mondays—and hope for the best in development for the 2014-2015 TV season.

Even with the 8pm-to-10pm block likely stabilized for the rest of the season, the future of CBS's Monday lineup is uncertain. Hostages is doing okay once DVR viewership is taken into account, but it's probably done for good after its 15-episode run. (Only time will tell what will happen with Intelligence, which takes over the 10pm slot in January.) CBS is a network where lead-ins still seem to matter, and the weaker comedy block has certainly had some impact on Hostages' performance. But more importantly, HIMYM is over forever in May, leaving CBS without an anchor on what was once its biggest comedy night. There's no way that the network can bring The Big Bang Theory back from Thursdays, and short of just running TBBT repeats on Mondays (which, hey, might work), CBS is going to need something else at the start of the week come fall 2014. It's possible that that something else will be The Millers, which is doing very well on Thursdays (albeit behind The Big Bang Theory, which is undoubtedly helping it). Otherwise, CBS is going to have to hope it can develop its next big, broad sitcom during the spring pilot season. 

CBS always seems to be ahead of the curve on these matters—its recent decisions to move Survivor and CSI to Wednesdays and to shift its big comedies to Thursdays were damn smart—and the network knows its audience very well. But it still needs something big. 


FOX


PROBLEM AREA: Tuesdays

It's difficult to identify one of the better comedy blocks on all of television as a problem, but despite the critical love for New Girl and the growing adulation for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Fox's big Tuesday comedy night is struggling to make a dent in terms of viewership. Last week, not even one of the network's four Tuesday comedies topped a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo or drew more than 4 million viewers. Dads, thankfully, is pretty dead (well, except for a pesky request for additional script, but Fox hasn't asked for more episodes yet.) And although Fox gave Brooklyn Nine-Nine a back-nine pickup and a plum post-Super Bowl slot alongside New Girl, the cop comedy's numbers are almost identical to those of the awful Seth MacFarlane project. New Girl, a show that was averaging more than 8 million viewers around this time two years ago and still cracking 5 million last season, has barely beat The Goldbergs in the last few weeks. And The Mindy Project has CW-level viewership numbers (2.7 million viewers on October 15). There's an idea gaining momentum that Brooklyn Nine-NineNew Girl, and The Mindy Project will become some kind of contemporary NBC-style "must-see" comedy block, but A.) The shows aren't there yet on a qualitative level, and B.) Even 2009 NBC would probably scoff at their ratings. Times have changed and ratings are always declining, but we should probably pump the brakes on Fox Tuesday's coronation. 

Just like at ABC and CBS, the seeds for this problem were planted before this fall—in this case, just last year. Fox rightfully had a lot of confidence in New Girl as the show entered its second season and that confidence inspired the network to create a full two-hour comedy block with New Girl as the centerpiece. Unfortunately, the show's ratings have been on a downward slide, pulling everything else around it down as well (competition from The Voice on Tuesdays doesn't help). Ben and Kate didn't survive last fall, Raising Hope has been shoved to Fridays, and Fox would have been completely justified if it'd axed Mindy after its poor ratings performance in Season 1. This fall hasn't been that different: New Girl and Mindy are both down more, and Dads and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are just struggling to get by. 

SOLUTION: Cut bait on the two-hour block, and try some comedies on Thursday.

What a difference a year makes. Last season, Fox's drama reserves were pretty low. The Mob Doctor failed immediately, but finished out its run because the network didn't have much else to replace it with. That probably allowed Fox to stick with the comedy block, too. But since January, Fox has picked up two relative hits, The Following and Sleepy Hollow, and has Almost Human and Rake still to come. There's no guarantee that the latter two will be big winners, and Fox is (smartly) playing it safe by limiting Sleepy Hollow's first season to just 13 episodes. However, the point is that the network has a little wiggle room, should it want to blow up the two-hour block on Tuesdays in the future. If things got bad enough, Fox could shift Rake or Bones to Tuesdays at 8pm, leaving space for just an hour of comedy from 9pm to 10pm (presumably New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine). That move would orphan Dads and The Mindy Project, but the former can't live that much longer and it might just be time to admit that the latter isn't connecting with viewers the way Fox hoped it would. Raising Hope (which returns for Season 4 in November) and Enlisted (which debuts in January) could keep doing their things on Friday.

However, if I were Fox, I'd at least try comedies on a whole other night: Thursday. Why not move the out-of-gas Glee out of that plum 9pm post-Idol spot and ship it back to Tuesdays to finish out its run? Then New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine could take Glee's place, giving those two shows a real chance to succeed. The network is already trying them out after the Super Bowl, why not another attempted bump? Right now, Thursdays at 9pm are ripe for a new comedy block. NBC's Thursdays are a disaster (see below) and CBS's are vulnerable. If Fox is committed to making live-action comedy work on its network again, it has to do something fast.


NBC


PROBLEM AREA: Thursdays

In what will surely be another chapter in the LOL NBC tell-all book, the Peacock's Thursday-night comedy block is as low as its ever been. Lower than when it was just an hour because Jeff Zucker really loved The Apprentice. Lower than when it included Kath & Kim. If you add up the 18-49 demo figures from last week for all four of the Thursday comedies that aired that night (Parks and RecreationWelcome to the FamilySean Saves the World, and The Michael J. Fox Show), you get 4.5; The Big Bang Theory scored a 5.2 on its own at 8pm. Just like at Fox, no NBC comedy topped a 2.0 in the 18-49 or 4 million viewers in the live viewing figures last week. Perhaps worst of all is that none of the comedies appear to be doing that well with DVR viewing factored in; people just aren't watching them. Meanwhile, Welcome to the Family has already been canned and the Great NBC Savior, Community, is now scheduled to return in January.

NBC clung to The Office and 30 Rock as long as it could, but despite their declining numbers in the last few years, they were known quantities that a certain segment of NBC's audience enjoyed. NBC spent the last two development seasons pushing for broader comedies that would supposedly have more mainstream appeal. Every new comedy the network tried last year failed, and unless NBC just wants to be nice to Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox, it is on the exact same path this season as well. There's a version of this season that plays out with Parks and Recreation and Community somehow being the only two comedy survivors... again. NBC president Robert Greenblatt probably pukes in his mouth just thinking about that more-than-likely reality. The niche audiences NBC appealed to for years with the Office / 30 Rock / Parks / Community quartet might have been a more valuable group for the network to chase after all.


SOLUTION: Salt the earth: Get rid of the Thursday comedy block. 

No NBC executive wants to be the one who destroys the network's Thursday comedy block; it is the network's legacy. But at this point, Greenblatt would be stupid not to. He didn't like the niche-ier night, and his plan to go broad didn't work either. NBC actually has some nice stuff on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, so it should focus all its attention on trying to come up with a big plan to fix Thursday in 2014-2015. There's nothing to be done this season, which is basically why the network already axed Welcome to the Family and threw up the Greendale bat signal. 

So what does NBC do moving forward? That's difficult to say. Going into this season, I thought the network should've considered moving The Voice to Wednesday and Thursday, because it would've gone directly at Fox and American Idol and caused a bit of a sea change for NBC's identity. In theory, NBC could still just shift its Monday and Tuesday lineups to Wednesday and Thursday. That would leave Monday and Tuesday for NBC to tinker with (including putting Parenthood back at 10pm on Tuesdays), but with CBS weakened on Monday and Fox and ABC struggling on Tuesday, now's the time. However, The Voice has done so well this season, building up The Blacklist and Chicago Fire, that I'm a little wary of that plan, and I'm guessing that NBC will be especially nervous about possibly messing up a good thing.

NBC's best move is to try comedy elsewhere, probably after The Voice. After all, Go On and The New Normal did pretty well in that spot last season, only to perish without the singing giant to boost them. If NBC wants to keep The Blacklist and Chicago Fire safe for now, the smartest play might be to trot out a few Voice Thursday specials and just see how it goes. The news that NBC is trying a version of this with with The Voice and SNL in an attempt to save Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show—even at Parks and Recreation's expense—is unfortunately a step in the right direction. Then in the fall, the network should probably consider trying Tuesday comedies. Anything NBC airs on Thursdays is just going to die anyway, so why not put a whole lot of resources behind a couple new shows to roll out behind The Voice next fall, and if necessary, let Community and Parks get beat up for one more year on Thursdays from 8pm to 9pm? It's going to take a while for NBC to dig itself out, but it can't keep doing the same thing and hoping for a different result.


Faced with these comedy problems, what would YOU do if you were a network exec?

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What's with the lack of the love for The Mindy Project?
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ABC's got the worst possible marketing for their sitcoms right now, I couldn't tell you when The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife were on and I couldn't tell you anything beyond the absolute basics, I surely couldn't tell you where the hell the comedy comes from based on their promos. Yet Super Fun Night marketing succeeds every time at doing all of those things, despite being unlikable. Your idea of moving Super Fun Night off to Tuesday damns whatever they will air at 10pm that night, but would salvage The Goldbergs (I suspect the pricetag of all the talent in Trophy Wife has damned it).

CBS really is doomed to slowly burn until they fix development, throwing money at a problem doesn't solve it. 2 Broke Girls isn't really going anywhere, it was easy to drop at the end of last season because it's just the same jokes and plots over and over. Mom is doomed to flounder. The Millers is coming up short in the writing and directing department.

Fox's voice is lost, they are saying "boys go at 8pm, girls go at 9pm" and then wonder why there's little crossover. There's also an age gap that seems to not know who it's aiming for. I dunno why Fox needs to go to Thursdays, they do need to cut bait but Thursday is not a good spot to cast with so many bigger anglers there already. Wednesday makes more sense to me, ABC is the only one running sitcoms and they are all family-focused, there's a clear weakness for a younger audience takeover on Wednesdays if they can just recognize that singing competitions are starting to show weaknesses and are not as profit-generating as they once were (I'm not advocating a full kill order there, that's just not going to happen these days, but make room, and probably at the 8pm instead of 9pm hour).

NBC's problem is everything. They have awful marketing, awful development, no voice, no direction, no passion, nothing but executive bungling. Parks & Rec, and Community alike, were never going to be saviors of anything, their passionate audiences are too niche, the last few years proved that as each show cycled into top slots only to do no better OR worse than anything else in those slots. NBC needs critical successes, audience successes, quality programming, quality marketing, but destroying Thursday is a mistake in my eyes, that is a brand they should be able to exploit again if they can stop putting their thumbs in their own eyes. They need stronger shows, they need a dumping ground day for slightly weaker shows to actually survive and get nurtured on, and they need a 10pm draw. Oh, and yeah, they need to tell people about all this.
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Cory - this is great insight!! Very interesting thoughts on the schedules. I'm just going to speak about the shows that I care about.
CBS - I've actually longed for HIMYM to be moved behind TBBT, mostly for personal reasons in that I wish more people watched the show, especially in the final year. Never thought it would happen, but I would have supported the decision. They can move 2 Broke Girls anywhere and I'll continue to watch. Moving it behind Big Bang would be fine by me, but only if they want it to stay on Thursdays. I haven't seen The Millers since the promo for the show was horrible, but tonally I think it works for leading Mondays next year after HIMYM leaves. Hopefully we have the spin-off next year to fit into the schedule as well.
NBC - I mean I like the Michael J Fox Show just fine, so I'll record it where ever it plays, but for building the audience I am not sure there is anything they can do besides somehow place it after The Voice. Parenthood probably move away from Scandal, and I am excited for what SVU, Chicago Fire, and Chicago PD will be doing.
ABC - I am okay with Last Man Standing on Fridays since I think the audience is there for it and it doesn't need the competition back on Tuesdays - plus I think the show is great. I do not understand what they are doing with the post-MF spot. Its an obvious match for Trophy Wife, TV's best new comedy, to be there. Rebel needs to be done and Trophy Wife needs the chance to succeed. Welcome Suburgatory back into an open spot and I'll be okay.
FOX - I plan to watch Enlisted, does that count? New Girl is horrible now and features some of TV's worst characters. The 9-9 pilot was trash and I actually don't hate Dads all that much. They need the Jason Ritter comedy, but they already killed that one.
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NBC, you're screwed basically. They have homeruns with The Voice, Football, Blacklist and Chicago Fire. But, you're going to need to shake up the schedule to salvage it. First off, move The Voice and go for the kill against X-Factor. That moves it to Wednesdays 8-10. New comer Chicago P.D. to build off the lead in at 10. Then start Thursday with The Voice at 8. Parks at 9, Community at 9:30, Parenthood stays put at 10. So now, move Sean and Michael J Fox over to Monday at 8 - 9, competing with CBS comedies. It sucks but that's all you have. Revolution at 9, Blacklist stays at 10. L&O:SVU moves to Tuesday at 9, going against NCIS:LA. Fridays and Sundays stay put. Are you reading this Robert Greenblatt? I expect to see a nice check in the mail when this ends up working.

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I wouldn't be surprised if NBC begged the NFL for more football, somehow.
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Too bad they can't broadcast the Thursday Night Games. That would solve their Thursday night problem. 2 nights of the Voice and 2 nights of football.
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Fox can salvage their Tuesdays by moving Bones to 8 and Brooklyn 9-9 behind New Girl. Almost Human will be taking Bones' spot on Mondays next month. Then, cancel Dads, bring in Raising Hope and put it on Thursday at 9. It could easily take out Sean Saves The World and give some competition to Crazy Ones. Follow it up with Mindy Project. This will move Glee to Fridays at 9. The only thing I worry about is Almost Human being pushed back to right before Thanksgiving and getting lost in the holidays. This has happened before with Fox starting good shows around this time of year (ie. Fringe, Human Target, Touch, Lie To Me). Especially after having the premiere date as 11/4 all this time and then moving it out. I'd rather them move it back to January. Don't F this one up Fox!

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ABC really needs to do some program shifting. First off, get rid of Super Fun Night. Bring in Trophy Wife to fill in there, it should flow well with a Modern Family lead. Then replace Trophy Wife with Suburgatory. Follow it up by moving Nashville at 10 from Wednesday. Wednesday will need a new drama to try to get ratings from NBC's new Chicago P.D. Then on Thursday, put Betrayal on at 8 to get some of that Grey's audience. And move Once Upon a Time In Wonderland to follow the original on Sunday. Shift Revenge back to 10 where it belongs. Its alot of movement, but makes more sense. And you're only tapping in to one of proven back up sitcoms. With only needing to fill the schedule with a new drama. Still shame on you ABC for cancelling Happy Endings and giving us crappy Super Fun Night.

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CBS can salvage their Mondays by moving The Millers over at 8:30. Next season, it can lead off their Mondays. Put Mike & Molly back at 9, Mom follows at 9:30. When Intelligence takes over when Hostages is over should help at 10. Swap 2 Broke Girls after Big Bang should improve its ratings. I can't see Two and a Half Men continuing another season. It'll just leave them with one hole to fill next season. I would suggest that next year, they change up their Sundays during football season. Do a Post Game Show that can vary in time. Start 60 Minutes at 8, Amazing Race at 9 and you only need one drama at 10. And they won't be running delayed.
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Here's a theory about CBS's comedy problem. They put their two biggest sitcoms from 2011-12 back-to-back, leaving four other sitcoms to die. If they left Two and a half Men on Mondays, then Mike and Molly would be doing better. I think CBS should of moved 2 Broke Girls to Thursday, which would also help the shows ratings. Then for the 2013-14 schedule it should have been:
Monday: Mike and Molly, The Millers, Two and a Half Men, Friends with Better Lives
Thursday: The Big Bang Theory, Mom, 2 Broke Girls, The Crazy Ones
I would have also moved How I Met Your Mother to Fridays, why not it's on it's final season. It would've been followed by a new sitcom, probably would've been We Are Men.
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To your first point: Yeah, that's basically what I said. I agree.
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What if NG and TMP move to Mondays after Bones? Sleepy Hollow to Tuesdays before Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Dads' replacement? Also Glee on Fridays during its sixth and final season?
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Poll


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Excellent article Cory! A very thought-provoking and in-depth analysis of where the networks stand in terms of comedy. I'm no network executive myself, so I'm not going to offer any solutions myself, but the article did give me some thoughts.

All I could think of while reading the paragraph on ABC was why would they ever cancel Happy Endings!? Now I'm sad all over again.

I agree that CBS's main problem is Monday (although like you said for CBS, this is relative), although I don't think moving The Millers to Mondays would be the solution. Wasn't it their faith in 2 Broke Girls to anchor Monday's after a successful freshman season that have lead them here? They wouldn't want to make that same mistake twice.

I feel for FOX because, honestly, other than their Sunday night animation block they've really got nothing on the other networks in terms of live-action comedy. I really like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I watch New Girl, but the ratings aren't good. I wouldn't really know what they could do, but spreading comedies around seems a good enough idea, Cory, and they could definitely pull some viewers from NBC on Thursday's with their comedy block.

CBS's idea to make broader comedies that have more mainstream appeal is just ridiculous and obviously hasn't worked. I'm surprised they didn't try to keep around The Office and/or 30 Rock for another season considering the state of their comedy ratings. You're right Cory, those niche audiences CBS once appealed to would most definitely have been a more valuable group for the network to chase.

And, I say this often, but why doesn't The CW get into comedies???
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thanks!
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I have no sympathy for ABC. They never should have cancelled Happy Endings and Don't trust the B. No sympathy. Whatsoever. Period.
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NBC needs Seinfeldvision.
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There is also definitely something wrong with the shows and the people watching them.

It's not necessarily my job to judge shows (not professionally anyway), but some mediocre shows like The Big Bang Theory (Yes, I don't think it's the best) have lots of viewership, while better shows like Community don't have the numbers. The problem here is that the dare I say less intelligently-written show is getting better ratings than the better, funnier show.

So maybe the problem is that there aren't many good comedies. Or maybe the problem is that people watch mediocre comedies.

I kind of lost my train of thought in the middle of writing this so.....
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Well, taste is subjective. Shows like The Big Bang Theory are always going to appeal to more viewers in comparison to Community though, it's just far more accessible to audiences then Community ever could be.
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Ya know after watching a couple episodes of Super Fun Night I really don't understand all the hate. It might not be that good but still its not as horrible as a lot of people are making it out to be. Something about the show makes me think it should have ended up on cable.

Maybe someone who truly hates it can explain it to me. (and give a reason other than Rebel doesn't have her accent)
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Rebel Wilson accent? Well, I never heard of her until this show.
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Four words to save NBC: "AMERICA'S KIDZ GOT SINGING."

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HAHAHA THANK YOU!!!
"GO JUMP BACK UP YOUR MOTHA" -Jenna
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What about this one?

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No. It's the other one.
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A big problem with ABC I've noticed is that they have Puppy Owner Syndrome with their comedies -- a tendency to nurture and pay attention to them when they're young, but then leave them to die without any help after about two years. If they want strong-performing sitcoms, they have to stick with them to adulthood.

I'm thinking about Suburgatory when I type this. There's no reason that shouldn't be on the air right now. It barely exists in ABC's eyes.
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yeah wth happened to Suburgatory?!? I totally forgot about that show.
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It'll be back eventually. Maybe. Probably.
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Agreed. I'm really feeling the loss of the Suburgatory.. I was hoping to see a Halloween episode too!
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One more thing, since Glee is ending by May 2015, then it should be moving to FOX dreadful Friday Night block during the 2014-2015 season! This might help New Girl, The Mindy Project and Brooklyn Nine-Nine continue their series much more longer.
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New Girl needs one more member to make it a total of six: A third young woman member in both a Jess and CeCe type.

The Mindy Project has a problem with its supporting cast: the cranky old Beverly character put in. Young adult fans abhor her, but it is very hard to get rid of her. The only solution to this problem is to add two more men doctor characters to make it ten:

* One of them has to be a young African-American man doctor who can help give Tamara some more relief.

* The other has to be a cranky old Caucasian hillbilly man doctor with these IMPORTANT reasons!:

1.) Give Beverly some more relief in her own company level.

2.) Team up with Beverly to discipline all the young adults, especially on all of the young men doctors, to get along with each other correctly.

3.) It will make the young adults create an equal peace agreement with those two cranky old hillbilly adults properly.

This show better get solved right away before its get too late!
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I've never seen an episode of The Mindy Project, but one of the biggest reasons I have no plans to watch it is the amount of news briefs I read hear on tv.com about the introduction of yet another love interest for the leas. Seriously, their were like five or more separate announcements for actors who would be portrayed a love interest for Mindy prior to the beginning of this season. I don't think I could ever watch a series in which the lead had a new boyfriend every two episodes.
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No1Slayerette, that pastor Casey character has to return, but it has to played better by a new actor. Peter's acting problem has been revealed that he has anger management problems, but he will be controlled nicely on how to get along better on the way right now. Tamara has found some love also.
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Of all the things Mindy Project needs, more characters is not one of them.
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CoryBarker1, 10 people should be final updated total for TMP. At least that cranky old Beverly character is absent in both episodes, but if she return on the next TMP, then that will be the only good time to add two men doctor characters. There will be five young men, three young women and two cranky old hillbillies, nothing more and nothing less. What I am saying has to make TMP more stronger.
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I disagree. I don't think the show needs more men. I think it needs more women. Why not bring on a couple more strong women? I personally like the show because I appreciate Mindy's comedy, but I can see how others might not.
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Okay, the alternative should be four young men, four young women and two cranky old hillbilly adults. But there was a problem about adding more women: Attracting a range too many 13-year-old to 19-year-olds fan in one blow which causes a bad imbalance on this show. The strict old TV critics, watching the TMP, cannot tolerate that. Maybe we should slow down on the buildup situation.
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I remember the days when 90% of my TV viewing were network sitcoms. This current season it's down to... 5%, maybe? Yuck. Yes, ratings are dwindling overall and some good sitcoms in recent years didn't get good ratings either, but I also find it acceptable that all these current sitcoms are struggling in ratings. Yes, I'm including New Girl in this, which I haven't liked at all this season. I'm not a big fan of TBBT but I'm at a point where it might honestly be the funniest sitcom in my schedule. Hopefully Community's January return will change that.

I wasn't aware what day and time Super Fun Night was airing, so thank you for pointing out that it's on right after Modern Family. That decision, considering their supposed problems with Happy Endings/The B in 23 in that spot, seems hilariously odd to me. You're right that I was thinking: "Huh, that doesn't make sense."
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Also it would be great if CBS put up Super Clyde on Monday nights. I saw the pilot, and it was good. Much better than We Are Men and it has potential to be great.
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Obviously a lot of the problem lies with advertisers.

But the biggest problem is the network's being so slow to accept that this is 2013 not 1996. They have been so slow to change with the times that they are in a perpetual scramble to have some blip of success on the radar and they are still trying to measure it by the old standards. And that just isn't going to happen anymore.
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Totally agree with you Cory, NBC should can their Thursday comedy tradition and try a new night, Mondays or Tuesdays like you said.
I really do wonder what will happen to NBC when The Voice starts to lose it's shine. American Idol has lasted a long time so they might not have to worry yet. But they need to find a way to get people watching shows without relying on their favourite child, The Voice.
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I thought The Voice was going to lose that aforementioned shine this season, and it's proven me wrong. Never underestimate the appeal of singing competitions, or Adam Levine, apparently.
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Blake Shelton 4 life
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I hardly ever watch sitcoms, because most of them are so silly... and I won't watch one with a laugh track at all. I wish the more grown up type of sitcoms came on at 9 and 9:30pm and all the talent shows started at 8pm.
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NBC shouldn't have cancelled Go On and The New Normal in the first place.. especially the former was a very, very good show and their replacements are Sean Saves The World and Welcome to the Family? for God's sake, who is making these decisions over there, an animated monkey? I'm just hoping that they would sunk deeper in mess.. they deserve that..
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NBC should really just start small when launching its new comedy block, and should probably move veteran shows like Parks & Rec and Community to Friday night. Just slowly introduce us to new comedies like years ago with My Name is Earl and The Office (which were both sleeper hits.) I agree with ditching the Thursday night comedy block...the night's pretty much an abandoned warehouse.
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In theory, that's sort of what they tried last year with Go On and New Normal on Tuesday--changing the night focus. But they gave up too quickly, I think.
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I agree they gave up too quickly, as NBC really does well with "sleeper" hits that slowly catch on through word of mouth (The Office, Seinfeld, My Name is Earl all started small and massively grew). NBC should try different comedy shows on different nights, until they can once again construct an effective Thursday night lineup like the past.
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NBC might make a lot of bad decisions, but it's kept under performing shows like Community and Parks and Rec alive, unlike ABC who I'll never forgive for axing apt 23 and my beloved Happy Endings.

If I ran a network it would probably fail because I'd go for good rather than broad, and broad is where the money is, I mean look at 21/2 men.
Sometimes good and massive audiences go together, but more often than not they just don't, and it's depressing
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This was hard to read, but sadly I agree with most of it.
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Great suggestions but I doubt the networks will be bold enough to take them on board.
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THEY BETTER NOT CANCEL THE GOLDBERGS!!! That show is awesome and fun and FUNNY, like a lighter version of the Wonder YEars set in the 80s and the cast is awesome. Please don't let it go to waste!!!
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I think Parks and Recreation is as funny as any sitcom currently on tv.
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I agree with most of what you've written up, Cory. But it breaks my heart already thinking that some of those shows might not return next year. I'm really invested in The Mindy Project but it seems nobody else is watching it.
I always thought comedies reached larger audiences because they're family-friendly, light and whatnot but I guess with the huge increase of top-notch dramas over the past year, comedies just fall short. The networks should really rethink their comedy formulas.
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I love The Mindy Project too. It started a little rough for sure, but it found it's groove towards the end of season one.
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you know last year I didn't watch the Mindy Project b/c I didn't find the 1st half of the season that good but i did catch one of the episodes that aired a couple weeks ago and found it pretty funny and after going back and watching the end of season one i actually found it to be a pretty funny show. So maybe ppl just gave up on it too soon and arnt willing to give it a chance?
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I also really love The Mindy Project and would be sad to see it go!
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*over the past years
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Awesome article Cory! :D
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Thank you!
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I probably have different views than most people but I like comedies that 1.( I can watch with my family ) and 2. (I can miss an episode and still understand).

The comedies that I like are big bang theory, modern family, the middle, subgoray, new girl and how i met your mother.

Comedies i grew up watching were everyone loves raymond, king of queens, according to jim, the office, friends

Personally i like my comedies more traditional than edgy. I didn't like happy endings, apartment 23, the neighbours, sean saves the world, raising hope, 2 broke girls. Edgy comedy is great for a 2 hour movie but won't have me tuning in on a weeky baises.
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As others have said, I wouldn't necessarily call some of the comedies you mentioned as edgy, but I definitely agree with your point overall.

I thought I would never say this about any television series, but when it comes to comedies, I prefer them traditional. I always enjoy watching the comedies you mentioned like The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Friends.

While I really enjoyed shows like 30 Rock and Happy Endings the nature of their zany comedy (borderline on the ridiculous) often meant that their episodes were either really hit or miss with me. If the A or B plot fell flat, the entire episode was average, whereas with more traditional comedies I know I'm not going to have that problem. Shows like The Big Bang Theory don't go for those out there situations for laughs and are more subtle with their comedy, so I know I'm more liekkly to respond positively to an episode of that, then say, New Girl, which has become too ridcioulius for its own good.
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Raising Hope seems odd to call edgy. That's the one comedy my family still watches together. It's traditional, just a bit odd.
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im totally going to agree Raising Hope is not "edgy"....
to me a sitcom like All in the Family is a lot "edgier". However I would call Raising Hope zany
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its about a single dad teenager/young guy raising a baby with his family. I wouldn't call that traditional. By edgy i mean new wave not hardcore. i don't know if i'm explaining that right.
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Sean Saves the World is edgy?????
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maybe just crappy
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Another reason is wasted talent. ABC should not have let any of the actors from Happy Endings go. You don't like the show, fine, it doesn't get enough ratings for you, ok. But don't toss away talent because they are going to get picked up by lesser quality shows like Girl with Bangs and three guys and Mindy. And don't waste talent when you get it, good example even better than Rebel Wilson is Tom Lennon on Sean Saves the World. Tom Lennon is hilarious, his stuff on Reno 911 was fantastic. But he gets on a network and that is what they do to him.
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Part of the issue there is that Happy Endings was produced by Sony TV, so the holding deals would have been a lot more complicated. ABC had no real interest in Happy Endings after S2, no matter what they say in public.
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Like Murderboy said, 99% of network comedies are crap. You can't really do much with crap. But it doesn't matter the way Networks look for comedies they will continue to do this over and over and over again. They try to appeal to the lowest common denominator and they get bland comedies. It is because of how they view the ratings system. They want as many viewers as possible to sell ad space and that dilutes the quality a lot.

They tried to do the "big stars" thing with Zooey and then Mindy and ABC now with Rebel. But that won't last long, Zooey's talent resides solely in her bangs, Mindy plays better on a movie or a side role and Rebel is pretty good but I am not sure what happened with the show because it is just awful.

What they need to do they can't. They need to troll the internet to find genuinely funny things. You are never going to see something like Burning Love on a Network because sometimes it is offensive and if ABC can't deal with B in 23 they are never going to be able to deal with anything edgier. And they need to encompass new viewing habits in their ratings, On demand, Netflix, Amazon, DVR etc.

It is basically a circular problem and they need to break out of the circle and take a freaking risk.
More+
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I can get behind a Fox switch. Have Tuesdays be Glee, Mindy, and Dads (in that order), and move New Girl and 9-9 to Thursdays at 9.
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If you're going to play chess with mostly turds on the board you're not likely to win, and neither are we. Modern Family and Big Bang seem to be the only must-see shows in play, so if you're going to have an Apocalypse, now's the time...
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Are they must-see because they're popular, or because they're good?
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I really enjoy The Big Bang Theory, it's my favourite comedy on television, and continues to get better with age. It's by no means a ground-breaking sitcom, but it does everything it's supposed to do perfectly.

As for Modern Family, I stopped watching a while ago, but I appreciate it as also being a solid sitcom. Again, not ground-breaking, but it does what it's supposed to do.
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hmmm. Good question. I'd say considered must-see due to their popularity and not quality. I do watch TBBT but if it's say, Community or Big Bang, I'm watching Community
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they are coherent in terms of character development (characters develop but not in a ridicuolus or bad direction so one can invest in them and feel empathy), they have a standart level of entertainment (not that they are extremely hillarious and I have seen mediocre episodes of both, but I do not recall any occasion where I said "what the hell was that", in short, they never go really bad) , they are decent (you can watch them with, friends, family, a complete stranger, and nothing goes awkward or sour) and they are really timeless (anytime I see an old episode of one of them, I find myself hooked up, sitting down and actually watching the entire episode).. I guess these are the reasons why they are good AND popular anyway..
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Nicely put...
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BOTH!
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I will agree to disagree with you on Modern Family. It is the exact opposite of must-see for me.
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I agree about this. Modern Family is a very bland comedy that has gotten blander over the years. It is the TV equivalent to "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele; when it comes on the radio, you don't turn it off, but it's nothing to go crazy for, either.
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"If you're going to play chess with mostly turds on the board..." - you'll also have a very messy board
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