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October 21, 2014

Why Sitcoms Are the Most Anticipated New Fall TV Shows

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 10th 2010 6:15PM
William Shatner in 'Bleep My Dad Says' on CBSEarlier today, James Hibberd of The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed published some interesting results of a tracking poll that measured viewers' "emotional attachment" to some of the upcoming new fall series.

'Hawaii Five-O' and '$#*! My Dad Says' took the top spots in the tracking poll, but that doesn't seem to be a big surprise; fans of the original 'Five-O' have been clamoring to see the Alex O'Loughlin-starring remake, and the pairing of William Shatner and a Twitter-feed-to-sitcom success story has made '$#*!' a show that people want to see, despite some bad reviews of the pilot from us grumpy critic-types.

But the shows that round out the top five are a bit of a surprise: 'Running Wilde' and 'Raising Hope' on FOX, and the new CBS sitcom 'Mike & Molly.' This is from a poll which, according to Hibberd, has an 85% track record, though he pointed out that last year's list didn't contain the popular and critically-acclaimed 'Modern Family,' while it did contain the cancelled 'FlashForward.'

The three comedies have been well-promoted by their respective networks, but they are not as high profile as the top two shows on the list. But there are a number of reasons why new comedies are springing to mind when people talk about fall debuts:

1. Most of the dramas are blending together.
Aside from the highly-branded 'Five-O' and the upcoming 'Law & Order: Los Angeles,' most of the dramas bowing this fall are indistinguishable from one another. Most, like 'Chase,' 'Outlaw' and 'Body of Proof' and 'Undercovers' are being positioned as procedurals, which people tend to sample when they debut but don't really have a connection to when they're first announced. Among more serialized shows, 'Blue Bloods' is being promoted more as a procedural by CBS and the NBC promos for 'The Event' are so vague that viewers are left to shrug at what the show is actually about.

2. The people behind the comedies have track records. '$#*! My Dad Says' is produced by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan of 'Will & Grace.' 'Raising Hope' is produced by Greg Garcia, who brought us 'My Name is Earl' and 'Yes, Dear.' 'Mike & Molly' comes from the Chuck Lorre comedy factory. And 'Running Wilde' come from the 'Arrested Development' pair of Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz. Once TV fans find out that a show is being produced by the same person that produced one of their favorite shows, they tend to be eager to see what they have up their sleeves this time around. It just so happens that more of the high-profile producing names are attached to comedies this year than dramas.

3. People are identifying with the comedies more than the dramas. How many people look at Melissa McCarthy and Billy Gardell of 'Mike & Molly' and are happy to see two sitcom leads that look like they do? How many people have a cantankerous, outspoken father like Shatner's character in '$#*! My Dad Says?' Even the premise of 'Raising Hope' has some resonance to young couples struggling to raise a family when times are tough. And people always love watching silly rich people get their comeuppance, as we see in 'Running Wilde.' They're much more relatable than being a cop or a spy or a neurosurgeon, and people might be latching on to that.

4. People just want to laugh. It's cliche to say it, but it's true; it's been a rough year for a lot of people, and they just want to sit down and laugh for a half-hour. It's not a coincidence that sitcoms become more popular during tough economic times, and the most recent recession is no exception to that rule. Thankfully, quality comedies are stepping up to fill the void, and people are hoping that this fall's new crop will be as good as last year's, when 'Modern Family,' 'Glee,' 'Cougar Town,' 'The Middle' and 'Community' all gained loyal followings.

Why do you think people are anticipating comedies more than dramas this season? What new fall show are you looking forward to the most?

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Tony DIMeo

people aren't eager for new network dramas because the best dramas are all on cable, excluding LOST which just ended there aren't any really good dramas on basic Network as for sitcoms some of the best are on Cable But I think Network TV still rules in sitcoms because NBC & ABC have some of the best ones

August 10 2010 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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