TV.com Throwdown: Which Network Has the Best Comedy Block?

For almost two decades, Thursday nights on NBC have been the place to go if you want to laugh. The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, Friends, Seinfeld, and Will & Grace all helped build the Peacock's 8pm to 10pm comedy block into a pop-culture behemoth. That's continued in recent years thanks to The Office, 30 Rock, and Parks and Recreation. NBC has a knack for collecting the most critically acclaimed comedies and sticking them together, building an armada of side-splitters that made other networks jealous.

But now NBC isn't the only network with a potent two-hour comedy block. CBS, Fox, and ABC all feature back-to-back-to-back-to-back half-hours of laughs, each with their own trademarks. So we ask you, dear reader:


Which network currently has the best comedy block?

Do keep in mind that we're talking CURRENT comedy blocks, as in the one's that've been on television since the beginning of this season. And we're looking at overall lineups rather than individual shows. Which block, top to bottom, is the best?



NBC

Current lineup: Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Whitney
NBC is the reigning champion, so we'll tackle it first (and we're ignoring the upcoming midseason schedule shakeup). The Office is the anchor here; now in its eighth season, the workplace comedy brings in the block's biggest numbers and consistently finishes near the top among NBC's shows. But the general consensus is the show has already seen its best years, as it's still struggling to find its way in the wake of Steve Carrell's departure. Parks and Recreation and Community open up the block and are critical favorites and cult hits. Newcomer Whitney rounds out the evening, much to our chagrin.

Pros: Abed!
Cons: Whitney!



ABC

Current lineup: The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family, Happy Endings
The new block on the block is hitting hard, with Modern Family consistently checking in as TV's highest-rated comedy and sweeping practically every award it was nominated for at this year's Emmys. But one well-received show does not a comedy block make, and sophomore sitcom Happy Endings has become the perfect complement to Modern Family, earning praise from critics and injecting some youth back into comedy as the heir apparent to Friends (but without that annoying Ross guy). Newcomer Suburgatory is one of the more promising new comedies of the fall season. But The Middle, while solid and family-friendly, is the least edgy of the programs and a bit of a square peg.

Pros: It's fresh and new, Phil and Luke Dunphy, the cast of Happy Endings
Cons: Modern Family is already showing signs of wearing down, The Middle doesn't exactly fit in



CBS

Current lineup: How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly
Most of our attention goes to NBC and ABC, but it's CBS that's laughing all the way to the bank with its popular Monday-night chunk o' laughs. All four of the network's comedies hover north of the 10-million-overall-viewers mark and pull in ratings over 4.0 in the adult demo. If you're looking at ratings success, CBS is where it's at. Even if snobby critics don't give the shows much of a chance.

Pros: Numbers don't lie, Melissa McCarthy, NPH
Cons: Laugh tracks, crass jokes and cultural stereotypes, Ashton Kutcher



FOX

Current lineup: The Simpsons, Allen Gregory, Family Guy, American Dad
The "Animation Domination" block isn't showing signs of going anywhere, ever. Family Guy gives The Simpsons much needed support on Sundays, and while no one would dare say the evening isn't synonymous with The Simpsons, it's Seth MacFarlane's series that have really made the block a contender. Plus, with MacFarlane's The Flinstones remake in the pipeline, Sundays could soon be MacFarlanation Domination. Note: We did not include Fox's Glee + New Girl + Raising Hope block, as we do not consider Glee a proper comedy. Too much singing, too much drama, hour-long format, etc.

Pros: The only place for animated comedy on network TV, The Simpsons is as American as bacon, mmm, bacon
Cons: Allen Gregory, too much reliance on MacFarlane


Now it's your turn to tell us which network's comedy block is best! Head to the comments to let us know your reasoning, and please do your best to make it clear which network gets your vote.


Last week's Throwdown:
Which show does fairy tales better, Grimm or Once Upon a Time? | Results

Comments (150)
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Feb 24, 2012
I have to pick NBC, because I really love most of their shows (where is 30 rock???)...but abed as a Pro??? I don't get the fascination with him...I hate him...he's ugly and not funny at all...!!!
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Dec 15, 2011
I agree that Fox is relying too much on Seth and not giving other animators a chance. Napoleon Dynamite is coming and I enjoy Bobs' Burgers. That one and The Simpsons and American Dad.
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Staff
Dec 01, 2011
The polls are closed! Thanks for voting! But seriously, I was pretty disappointed no one voted for Supernatural.
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Nov 25, 2011
ABC FTW!
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Nov 25, 2011
Modern Family + Happy Endings = ABC Wins!
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Nov 23, 2011
ABC!
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Nov 23, 2011
I have no idea why Glee was ever called a comedy. It's been a dramedy at the least since day 1.
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Nov 23, 2011
whatever dude...ROSS ruled
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Staff
Dec 01, 2011
How do I thumbs down this? Ross was the worst!!!
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Nov 22, 2011
NBC definitely, even with Whitney at the end, and considering how bad Whitney is that really speaks to how great Community, Parks and Rec, and The Office are.
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Nov 21, 2011
Once the unfunny "Community" is gone in favor of "30 Rock" NBC will easily have the best block.
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Nov 22, 2011
30rock hasn't been funny in years, community is the most original show on tv right now.
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Nov 21, 2011
CBS has the best comedy lineup. The only other show I watch from the other networks is Whitney. The show she (Whitney Cummings) produces for CBS is way funnier though.
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Nov 21, 2011
I would say NBC, but since they pulled Community, I guess ABC wins *sigh*
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Nov 21, 2011
CBS, hands down.
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Nov 20, 2011
Even when I like better the shows on NBC (Whitney apart), CBS and FOX rock the party!



ABC is weakest with only Suburgatory and Modern Family!
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Nov 20, 2011
"Pros: Abed!" Couldn't agree more.
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Nov 20, 2011
None of the above. Fox and NBC are close, just one show off. Switch Allen Gregory for Bob's Burgers on Fox. Switch 30 Rock for Whitney on NBC. Perfect. Even though I will miss Community during hiatus, I'm anticipating the Up All Night move to Thursday. Much better fit than Whitney. CBS is just HIMYM & 2 Broke Girls. The other two are lame. I really haven't sampled ABC beyond Modern Family.
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Nov 20, 2011
The Big Bang Theory rocks! I like Modern Family, but I think the slope of my liking is going down... way down.Mike & Molly is also a good pick.
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Nov 20, 2011
I would have picked Fox had they included Tuesday's lineup. Take away Glee and you have just New Girl and Raising Hope, two shows that are still funnier than the Sunday night shows combined.
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Nov 20, 2011
ABC takes this poll since NBC pulled Community.
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Nov 19, 2011
Seriously Tim?? The BEST ??? On network??? The answer is D. None of the above. I'd rather sit for 2 hrs on U-tube watching Debbie Boone wanna-bes be their best versions of You light up my life. Damn....ears are bleeding again....gotta go!!
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC -Whitney
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Nov 19, 2011
I think NBC has the best quality comedies, with the exception of Whitney, noone should have to watch that smut.
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Nov 19, 2011
While NBC's Thursday comedy block has been around for years, we all can say it declined viewer-wise but its still the home of one of the most critical acclaimed comedy at the moment (RE: Parks and Rec.,Community), the most mediocre it-should-have-been-canceled-long-ago show (RE: The Office) and one of the worst comedies we all lay our eyes on (RE: Whitney) and the fact that Community will be benched makes NBC lose a point.



And ABC has just started their comedy block 2 years ago and its already a monster for ABC (averaging more than half of the ABC shows to date), we can all safely say ABC takes this one. Happy Endings is going to the Friends-factor any day now, Modern Family is already considered one of the best comedy in TV where a sizable viewers can agree, Suburgatory is the a rising star and The Middle is the next Everybody Loves Raymond. ABC can take all the awards for this.



FOX's Animation Domination can be named MacFarlane Domination block in the future and CBS can suck their cheesy stereotypical jokes and their laugh rack with them.
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Nov 19, 2011
Community & Parks all the way, I watch 75% of the mentioned shows tho' =)
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Nov 19, 2011
Since "The Big Bang Theory" isn't an available option, I think ABC's Wednesday line-up is the best, with "The Middle" & "Modern Family." Had TBBT been an option, it would have been a tie between ABC and CBS. : )
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Nov 19, 2011
Community-parks-office is the best tops down, but FX have that super "Archer + Sunny in philly" thing that they do... Wilfred was booming... Fx has it, probably not in a line up but they get "comedy".



Archer forever - or at least 10 more seasons. Can't wait for January, seriously. Community is my fill-in for Archer and Community's at 9/10 status - that's how much i love Archer.
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Nov 19, 2011
its CBS
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Nov 19, 2011
I make my own comedy block: COPROF (Community+Parks+Office), then 'Up All Night' (via Hulu).
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Nov 19, 2011
I like this idea...

Mine would be Community, Archer, South Park and The Big Bang Theory... and Family Guy... and Suburgatory... and 30 Rock... and Cougar Town (or whatever it's sodding called now)... and Raising Hope... and The Middle... and Happy Endings... and HIMYM... and American Dad... and Bob's Burgers... which makes a solid seven hours of comedy (God bless the internet).
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC could easily be the best if it just stuck to what it's good at:

Community

Parks & Recreation

The Office

30 Rock



Outsourced was very underrated (with unwarranted criticism from overly-P.C. whiners - if it's popular in India it's probably not racist, morons!). Whitney is horrible, but you didn't need ME to tell you that.



If ABC had Cougar Town instead of The Middle, it would be a near-perfect evening!
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Nov 19, 2011
Ditto re: Outsourced. STILL miss that show!
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Nov 19, 2011
ABC First , All Amazing Happy Endings is a great addition this year even though i loved Cougar Town

CBS Second , For HIMYM

NBC Worst
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Nov 19, 2011
CBS for me. They also have The Big Bang Theory, the best comedy at the moment!
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Nov 19, 2011
REALLY?!

The Big Bang Theory is this generation's Perfect Strangers. Sure, it's cute and appeals to many demographics, but it VERY repetitive. Every two minutes there's a joke whose punchline revolves around the idea that "it's funny because these guys are nerds!". Whether it's a Star Trek reference, or the mention of a physicist, or their nervousness around women, it's ALWAYS the same jokes within the same premises. Just like in Perfect Strangers, where every joke revolved around the fact that Balki was a naive, adorable foreigner! It was funny for a couple of years, but it got really old. That's where Big Bang Theory is now.



Shows like Parks and Recreation, Community, Suburgatory and Happy Endings are far superior because the humor is less overt, yet multi-layered. They make reference to earlier jokes - even earlier episodes. You can never predict what the punchline will be because they are well-written.
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Nov 19, 2011
I would prefer Perfect Strangers to any of the shows mentioned above (including The Big Bang Theory which I love soo much) on any given day:)
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Nov 19, 2011
Finally, preach. big bang - Funny for the first couple episodes before the repetition sets in. Then it gets to be the thing you watch on a sunday night when you have absolutely nothing else left.
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Nov 19, 2011
"It was funny for a couple of years" That sounds bloody successful to me!
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Nov 19, 2011
The Big Bang Theory is a very good show but I wouldn't go as far to say it's the best comedy on the air at the moment. Like Modern Family, The Office, and a number of other shows on the air at the moment I believe that The Big Bang Theorie's best days are behind it, all of these shows are still entertaining but they have lost something that they used to have and are weakening. I don't know what I would say the best comedy is right now but when it's an Abed rich episode Community is hard to beat.
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Nov 19, 2011
Here's the updated official tally: (This time I actually did have something better to do, but I blew it off)



ABC: 30

NBC:29

CBS: 13

FOX: Still 0! (animation domination has apparently surrendered)

Undecided: 11

Tie between ABC&NBC: 4

None of the above: 3

Tie between ABC&CBS: 2

FX: 1



WOW! I haven't seen a race this close since George. W. Bush with complete fairness stole the election from Al Gore (thank god we won't have to worry about any hanging chad controversies).
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Nov 19, 2011
FX: 2
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Nov 19, 2011
Once again I'm going with the numbers...

ABC: Suburgatory +6, The Middle +5, Happy Endings +5, Modern Family -1 = +15

FOX: Family Guy +5, American Dad +5, The Simpson +1, Allen Gregory -5 = +6

CBS: HIMYM +5, 2 Broke Girls +1, Mike & Molly 0, 2 And A Half Men -5 = +1

NBC: Community +10, The Office 0, Parks & Rec -1, Whitney -10 = -1 (sorry Community)



ABC wins.



Some notes:

...5 points is the average for a show I like to watch.

...I've not seen a single episode of Mike & Molly or The Office (US), therefore 0 points.

...Whitney is as faecal as Community is brilliant - unfortunately that means they even the scales. Community got 10 because it's my favorite.

...Suburgatory is the best new comedy the season, hence the extra point.

...I've seen one episode of Modern Family, Parks & Rec and 2 And A Half Men (with AK) and I didn't like any of them enough to watch a second episode, so -1 each.

...The Simpsons only gets one point because they are destroying their legacy by constantly making parody episodes. I've laughed only once during the last season and a half (approx.) of The Simpsons.

...2 Broke Girls is crap and I know it's crap but I still watch it, so I decided to compromise and give it 1 point.

...Allen Gregory got -5 rather than -1 because after I watched the pilot I actually thought that the Father with hair and the Sister had some potential. Two episodes later I realised that all the characters were awful. -5 for getting some of my hopes up (even though it wasn't by much).



The number never lie!
More+
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Staff
Dec 01, 2011
Love the breakdown, Trev! I might need to hire you to run The Dead Pool next year!
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Nov 19, 2011
Why no mention of "The Big Bang Theory"??



BTW Community FTW!!!
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Nov 19, 2011
1. ABC-Watch all 4 shows

Tie CBS-Watch How I met your mother and Two Broke Girls.

I absolutely loved Mike & Molly the first season, but now not so much.

Tie NBC-Watch Parks & Recreation and The Office. I absolutely loved Community in its first season. But they keep having filler episodes.

3.FOX-American Dad only. I used to love The simpsons and Family Guy cannot stand them now.
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Nov 19, 2011
THURSDAY F/X, "ITS ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA", finding new life this season, and "THE LEAGUE", the most realistic depiction of highschool friends heading into their mid-late 30's on television. Throw in Spring/Summer staples "ARCHER" (hands down the best adult cartoon 1/2 hour comedy and simply one of the best comedies on television period), "LOUIE", and "WILFRED" and I think you can clearly see that the BEST comedies currently reside on F/X.



You can take the cliched been there done that comedies of CBS, NBC, and ABC and none hold a candle to the comedies on F/X. None are as original, none are as funny, none relate to the working man as well -- F/X IS THE NEW KING IN COMEDY.
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Nov 19, 2011
yep :)
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Nov 19, 2011
CBS and if they would have Modern Family as well, then no Network chance...
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Nov 19, 2011
Nothing is funnier than Phil Dunphy. ABC!
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Nov 19, 2011
definitely CBS ..
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC, but my favorite is Modern Family
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC because of P&R, Community, and the Office, but lets be real here. I don't watch TV on a television and haven't for years. I didn't even know which network most of those shows came on until I read this because I don't pay attention to stuff like that. It would seem that all of them have at least one show that I enjoy, so I suppose that's good.



Community, Parks and Recreation, The Office, Suburgatory, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, American Dad.
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC. Community and Parks & Recreation. nuff said.
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Nov 19, 2011
ABC For "Happy Endings" and "Suburgatory" !
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Nov 19, 2011
NBC.
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Nov 18, 2011
Got to go with CBS because I watch all four of those shows
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Nov 18, 2011
NBC! I still love all of the shows on the channel, I even stomach Whitney. (Could there be something better, yes, but there isn't currently at that time.) I do think the Office is on its last, as is 30 Rock, but As is, the lineup is pretty good, replace Whitney and it would be super strong.
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Nov 18, 2011
CBS....cause HIMYM is my absolut favorite!
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Nov 18, 2011
if it is ok to vote for two, I would say first ABC, followed by CBS, (including the thursday night's the big bang theory), .. I watch veeery little from NBC as they have great tendency to disappear all of sudden:)
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Nov 18, 2011
CBS...
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Nov 18, 2011
Well I have to pick CBS .. only because HIMYM is my # 1 Favorite show.... and I like 2 of the others... and won't watch 2.5 Men.



ABC is a close second... really like 3 of them and I don't watch the Middle but not sure why.



Love Community but don't watch the rest of NBC
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