Posts tagged as sitcoms

When That Clever Hook Can Kill Your Sitcom

Allow me to coin a new term: ‘pre-cancelled.’ The definition: a television program’s eventual demise caused by a fatal flaw in its rollout.

A pre-cancellation can be attributed to several factors. The show in question may be the victim of a struggling timeslot. It may garner critical derision at the annual upfronts. Or perhaps it simply has Christian Slater attached as its lead. (Bah-ZING.)

That said, one of the most avoidable forms of pre-cancellation occurs when a series’ concept relies heavily on an overly-specialized premise. Put another way, few things erode a sitcom faster than a misguided hook. The death knell may not chime for a season or two. Or [...]

NBC’s Journey and Ultimate Failure to Find the Next 'Friends'

For the past few years it’s been nearly impossible to flip through the channels without stumbling upon a number of the Friends clones that have come and gone. Shows like Perfect Couples, Friends with Benefits, Partners, Friends With Better Lives, Some of My Best Friends, Undateable, and a wealth of other shows with generic titles that have failed to make a name for themselves (as well as other legitimate contenders for the “throne” such as Happy Endings or How I Met Your Mother). Now, with Friends recently added to the Netflix pantheon, and with Lisa Kudrow and Matt LeBlanc being as hot as ever (well maybe that’s not true) with [...]

Bask in the Shameless Glory of Tommy Wiseau's New Sitcom Teaser

Tommy Wiseau, star and director of the famously bad 2003 film The Room, recently announced via his website that his original sitcom The Neighbors — a project he's been working on since at least 2009 — will drop in September (on "Comedy TV," apparently). Wiseau made a website for the sitcom that includes the kind of description you'd expect, with lines like "This cocktail of characters always guarantee plenty of surprises," "The demographic is all inclusive," and the very specific "The Neighbors is a sitcom about the relationship between a group of neighbors who live in an apartment building." Click through to watch the original trailer.

FX Is Developing a Sitcom Based on 'Texts From Bennett' Book

FX is turning the popular blog-turned-book Texts from Bennett into a sitcom from Wilfred executive producer and director Randall Einhorn. The show will based on the book, which focuses on "Bennett, a 17-year-old white kid who claims to be 13% black Crip, enjoys a more-than-recreational level of drug use and can’t keep a job," who must move in with his cousin Mac and his WASPy girlfriend in suburban Kansas. The book was written by Mac Lethal; a scriptwriter for the series hasn't yet been found.

Though Lethal, who's real name is David Sheldon, has claimed that the texts from his cousin are 100% real, though The Smoking Gun claims that their entirely [...]

How Are This Year's New Sitcoms Faring In the Ratings?

The new season is still kicking off, but already many new TV shows are pretty much doomed. Broadcast networks fill their schedules with the knowledge that some of the shows won't make it past a few episodes, and even fewer will make it to a second year. Cancellation decisions are based not just on the overall number of viewers and the viewership of the prime 18-49 demographic, but also in comparison to the ratings of the network's other programs. The flood of numbers from Nielsen ratings can be overwhelming, so here's a quick look at how all of the new sitcoms on network TV are doing, and which [...]

Can 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine' Ever Accurately Portray the NYPD?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a fun, wacky, well-cast sitcom set in a Brooklyn police precinct. Since 2004, approximately seven unarmed people of color have been killed by real cops in real Brooklyn. It stands to reason that a network sitcom would be uncomfortable addressing something so horrifying. What, then, should a sitcom about police officers in New York City be, when the world outside of that sitcom is one of fear and violence?

Not all sitcoms will address their contemporary world; arguably, that's nowhere close to the point of sitcoms. For every show like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which includes a few contemporary stories every season, there's [...]

How 'The Bernie Mac Show' Changed the Future of the Sitcom

“You know I ain’t lyin!” “America, I tell the truth you can’t say!” “Bust his head til the white meat shows!”

Bernie Mac was already an up-and-coming comedian when he starred in Spike Lee’s Original Kings of Comedy in 2000. Having risen through the ranks by way of Chicago, Mac made a name for himself during the Def Jam comedy years, as one of the funniest and most unflappable comedians on the tour. So by the time he was introduced in Spike Lee’s film, his confidence and persona was on full display.

From word one, he owns the crowd, making light of everything from his sex drive to the disappearance [...]

Watch Aimee Mann and Ted Leo Cover a Bunch of Sitcom Theme Songs

Vulture had music duo The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) into the studio to record a medley of really depressing sitcom theme songs, including "At Least It Was Here" from Community, "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers, and more. The medley will just make you want to hear them cover full versions of the songs.

Fox Cuts Backs Order on 'Us & Them', Essentially Cancels It Before It Airs

Fox has ended production on Us & Them, cutting the show's 13-episode order to the seven episodes already made. According to Deadline, the network "plans to air the produced episodes and has not canceled the series," but really that means the show is canceled. The show, which was based on the mega-hit BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey, stars Jason Ritter and Alexis Biedel as a couple in a long-distance relationship who must deal with merging their eccentric families. Kerri Kenney and Michael Ian Black played supporting roles as Biedel's mother and uncle.

It's the second early decision on a midseason show that Fox has made this year; the animated sitcom [...]

ABC and CBS Both Bought Brooklyn-Based Mom-Centric Comedies

Both ABC and CBS are looking to have New Yorky mom-centric sitcoms on their schedules next year. ABC is developing a multi-camera sitcom from executive producers Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos, according to Deadline. Still untitled, the show follows "a free-spirited" single mother of two in Brooklyn who runs a design company with her best friends. But, "things take a turn when her conservative 16-year-old son starts interning at her company, intent on transforming the family business into a global empire."

As the same time, CBS has picked up a comedy pilot from Everwood creator Greg Berlanti. The single-camera sitcom will be based on the Israeli series Haverot, meaning "Little Mom", and [...]

On "Zoidbergs"

There’s a new sitcom archetype. Though it has roots in classic television, this specific characterization has become especially prevalent in the last decade or so. I will call characters that fit this archetype “Zoidbergs,” after the alien coworker from Futurama. Futurama was far from the first or only show to utilize this type of personality, but Dr. John Zoidberg is particularly distinct — an incompetent and penniless lobster doctor — which makes him emblematic in a helpful way. So, Zoidberg it is.

What exactly do I mean by a Zoidberg? Essentially, it’s a loser, but it goes further than that. To begin, it might be useful to define what a [...]

Sketch Anatomy: Andy Cowan Explains the Origins of 'Seinfeld's "The Opposite"

Welcome to our column Sketch Anatomy, where we ask some of our favorite television writers to choose any sketch — one they personally wrote or one from history they find particularly hilarious, notable, or underappreciated — to learn from a writer's perspective what separates a successful sketch from the rest.

For this week's Sketch Anatomy, we're breaking the rules a little to go behind the scenes of a classic '90s sitcom episode with Andy Cowan, former writer for Cheers and 3rd Rock from the Sun and the mind behind the acclaimed 1994 Seinfeld episode "The Opposite." Ranked at #1 in our own list of every Seinfeld episode, [...]

'Seinfeld' Writer/Producer Peter Mehlman Gives TV Writing Advice

"Laughter is such a strong spice, it’s hard to taste anything else. If you write something funny enough, you can get away with murder."

Former Seinfeld writer/producer Peter Mehlman wrote a piece for this month's Reader's Digest Magazine called "How to Write a TV Show," and it's full of Seinfeld anecdotes and great advice for aspiring comedy writers.

NBC Is Developing Comedies from Justin Long and Meg Ryan

The big TV networks are continuing to buy new shows to develop for the 2014-15 TV season, and NBC just purchased a pair of comedies from two well-known actors: Justin Long and Meg Ryan.

Justin Long's untitled sitcom is being written by him, his younger brother Christian Long, and The Office writer Graham Wagner, Deadline reports. Long hasn't officially signed on to star, but he's expected to play the lead character: a guy in his early 30s who's dating a woman 10 years older than him while dealing with everyone else's judgment about their relationship and helping the woman raise her teenage kid.

Meg Ryan's show, which she will [...]