Comedies Face Tough Times

Feb 9, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Comedies have fallen out of favor with the networks, with the CW not even bothering to develop shows in the genre anymore, Daily Variety reports. There are some new comedies appearing midseason on ABC, NBC and Fox, although most of the shows have been assigned tough time slots and are single-camera programs, a type which has yet to produce a smash hit, the trade paper says.
—Aimee Picchi


  1. Come on, let’s be honest. Comedies aren’t being made now because they’re actually the hardest to write. Oh, sure, you can put the crap on the air that the CW calls funny and no one will watch, but to write and produce a single camera comedy like M*A*S*H would be almost impossible today. All the funny stuff has been written and good writers, contrary to conventional wisdom, don’t grow on trees. And I for one am sick of the multi-camera stage plays, especially with the sweetened laughter. If it ain’t funny, I ain’t gonna laugh.

  2. There are just less time slots to go around – what with all the reality crap (and now NBC’s Jay Leno stunt). It’s a pure numbers game. The less that gets tried out, the less that will stick. Most of the great comedies of years past weren’t ratings hits right away. They wouldn’t have been given a chance nowadays.

  3. Chuck Lorre is the best comedy writer today and his shows are great- BIG BANG THEORY AND TWO AND A HALF MEN are traditional comedies but what makes them great is that they are actually FUNNY

  4. “[Single-camera comedies are] a type which has yet to produce a smash hit.”
    The Office disagrees with that comment. Yes, it’s in a tough time slot, but it’s still a major hit for NBC, and that’s saying a lot.
    What exactly constitutes as a “smash hit” anyway? Inflated expectations based on preconceived notions of what other networks are doing? American Idol is an anomaly on Fox, as is Dancing With The Stars on ABC and Survivor on CBS. Reality programs aren’t really big aside from those two, and yet, every network wants to saturate their lineups with those shows.
    CBS’s Monday-night lineup is punctuated by the Lorre comedies that get no love from the critics, though for my money, The Big Bang Theory is the best comedy on television, though I’m pissed Fox moved House, the best drama, against it.
    Yeah, ABC, NBC, and Fox are creating new comedies. However, if they fail after, say, two airing, they’ll quickly replace them with “reality” shows where people get embarrassed or humiliated for the point of ratings.
    Yeah, comedy is hard. That’s why you see so many Law and Order and C.S.I. spinoffs and hospital/procedural programs/knockoffs.

  5. Chopped Liver… not sure you’re argument makes sense. With fewer comedies in production, there are more good writers available to tackle new comedies. Trust me, there are more than enough good writers to go around. The problem is a shortage of timeslots (thanks, NBC) and a shortage of interest in the viewing public.
    I used to think that the lagging interest in comedies was cyclical. This downward cycle has been going on so long, that I now question whether it will ever come back in any way that resembles what it was. That’ll be hard, with NBC down 5 hours and the CW not even employing a comedy development team.

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