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December 21, 2014

'Til Death: The new According to Jim?

by Joel Keller, posted Oct 28th 2009 7:01PM
Brad Garrett and Joely Fisher of 'Til DeathEvery year, there's a show that's on the top of viewers' "You mean that's still on the air?" list. Whether the show was good or not, it was one that hung on in obscurity for years and years, getting just enough of an audience to keep it going. You know the shows I'm talking about: The Facts of Life. Wings. Yes, Dear. Matlock.Just Shoot Me. George Lopez. King of the Hill. JAG. Heck, even the great Scrubs was at the top of this list for many people for awhile (still might be for some).

But for the last five years or so, the reigning champ of that list was According to Jim, both because of its inexplicable longevity and its questionable quality. Now, with Jim Belushi's vanity project finally gone, it looks like another show has taken its place: FOX's 'Til Death.

The network just doesn't want to let the show die. Every time the show is in a low-rated slot, the network moves it to one that's higher-profile in an attempt to boost ratings. Case in point: the Brad Garrett sitcom will be replacing Brothers on Sundays at 7, starting January 10, after football's regular season is over.

It's good to hear that Brothers is going to die a quick death; as much as I like both Daryl Mitchell and Michael Strahan, that show was just ill-conceived from start to finish. But it's not like 'Til Death is much better. It's had its moments; no show starring the talented Garrett and always-funny Joely Fisher can be completely horrible. But a good sitcom it isn't. It's been on the chopping block each of the last two off-seasons, so to hear that, even in the show's foruth season, FOX is giving it another shot, is a surprise.

Remember, this is the network that gave up on Arrested Development, Futurama, and a number of other higher-quality shows. What is it about Death that makes the FOX executives want to save the show? If they want to retain Garrett's services, for example, they're better off canceling Death and giving him another vehicle to try. Keeping this one on life support is just wasting everyone's time.

And, yes, last year I thought Gary Unmarried was going to be the next ATJ. But 'Til Death has been on longer. I'm sure when Death finally gets canned, Gary will ascend to the top of the obscurity list.

[via TV Week]

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Vince

King of the Hill? That show was consistently well written for the 17 seasons it was on the air. I'm surprised that it is on the list here! Where the almighty Simpsons had a dip (and then resurgence, though not to the heights it achieved in its first several seasons) in quality, KOTH was steady. It's too bad that McFarlane has been given an empire on Sunday nights on Fox--his shows may have viewership, but on most nights the writing is lazy across all three. Animation Domination? More like Animation Abomination.

October 30 2009 at 1:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NightOwl

I also liked this show the first season, when it had more of the neighbors involvement. I even liked Kenny when he first appeared, because I though he and Brad Garretts' character worked well together. But then the neighbors virtually disappeared and it became to much about Kenny, and I didnt enjoy it anymore. So far, I havent watched any of this season , both because I have lost interest in the show and because,as happens with many shows that get moved around on the schedule, I lost track of when it is even on.

October 29 2009 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Han Solo


Season 1 of the show as really really good. And they have an audience because of that.

Last season I didn't even watch.

Sounds like I might give it another shot.

October 29 2009 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Copycoupons Place

This is something that I thought was so widely known in TV circles that I'm really surprised Joel wrote this article without mentioning (or apparently even being aware of) this fact. It's not rocket science, just basic economics. Sony made Fox an offer they couldn't refuse. Til Death will die soon enough, once Sony stops giving the show away practically for free.

October 29 2009 at 5:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrosaly

You know I've never posted like this, but your article inspired me and I in no way say this in a confrontational way. But have you ever thought that some people just want laughs. I like many other people have screwed up lifes; when I sit to watch TV, i want to laugh, see something exciting, etc. If its not imaginable, plausible, who cars. I live enough of that every day. I know the gizmos and gadgets they show on shows like (especially) CSI Miami are all bogus, trust me, I work in IT(20+ yrs);but its still amusing. You cant take it all so seriousy. considering that some of the highest rated shows to day are "Reality TV", what's real about it? I am all about adventure, and dreams; but there is nothing real about putting a bunch of people against each other in a closed environment, you know who your competition is, gimme a break. In any case, I think some of these stupid, badly written (as you say) series are some of the best. I watch all sorts of TV, and I need my fix of badly written laugh your a** off comedies

October 29 2009 at 3:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joe Siegler

Hey, I like Til Death. I'm just glad they got rid of that doofus friend, the one that Brad Garrett's character picked up in the middle of Series 2 and was a regular in Series 3.

I do miss the original neighbors from the first season, though. Those two were funny, and the wife was hot.

October 29 2009 at 2:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael

Well that's not fair, Arrested Development wasn't funny.

October 28 2009 at 9:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Galley

It may not be anywhere near as good as it was when the Woodcocks were on the show, but it's still funny (especially now that Kenny is gone).

October 28 2009 at 8:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
emtae

Jim Belushi's show probably lasted because enough people watched it, and (more importantly) it made money for ABC. Since when does quality matter?

Thank goodness networks don't let TV critics program their airtime. We would be stuck with a bunch of 30 Rockish shakey cam overrated nonsense and angst-ridden cop/doctor/lawyer drama trophy hunts on every channel.

I liked Wings, too. Funny show. At least, until Thomas Haden Church left the show.

October 28 2009 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian

The reason 'Til Death is still on the air is because Sony, the studio that makes it, allows Fox to air it at an extremely low "licensing fee." Why? So it can get to 100 episodes, enough to sell to syndicators in lucrative blocks, making Sony a fortune. So that's why. However, I still am not sure why they think stations will buy reruns and people will watch it there if they never watched it in the first place.

October 28 2009 at 7:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brian's comment
Andy

This is something that I thought was so widely known in TV circles that I'm really surprised Joel wrote this article without mentioning (or apparently even being aware of) this fact. It's not rocket science, just basic economics. Sony made Fox an offer they couldn't refuse. Til Death will die soon enough, once Sony stops giving the show away practically for free.

October 28 2009 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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