March 10, 2014
the return of the sitcom
by Joel Keller, posted Dec 18th 2009 2:09PM
I'm always amazed at how people haven't learned from TV history. Back in the early eighties, everyone and his mother was saying that comedy was dead, mainly because of then-cutting-edge dramas like Hill Street Blues were dominating the air, while the best in comedy that the networks could come up was crap like Pink Lady and Jeff. Then The Cosby Show, Cheers, Family Ties, and Night Court came around, and all of a sudden comedy was back.
So it's not a big surprise that comedy is making a big comeback a quarter-century later. Times are tough, and people want to laugh. It also helps that on a few networks (NBC, of course), low ratings and little inventory have given shows like The Office and 30 Rock a chance to find and grow an audience. The seeds sewn by those shows have grown in a major way, as three of the four networks now have successful comedy lineups.
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