Ask Matt: Comedy Conundrums, Big Bang Couples, Glee, Homeland, Walking Dead, More
Mayim Bialik, Jim Parsons | Photo Credits: Michael Yarish /Warner Bros
Question: So now that we have quickly and predictably sorted out CBS's switch of We Are Men with Mike & Molly (and you called that one out a long time ago), can we now focus on further obvious moves for the Fox, NBC and ABC sitcom slates? I know Fox wants to be in the Seth MacFarlane business, but how soon can we banish the 1990s relic Dads and replace it with Raising Hope, which is just screaming to be back on Tuesdays? Can NBC just return low-rated but at least cult classic Community back to Thursdays where yes, it will do poorly but at least it has 80-plus episodes to its name and more value than these dire new cadets, so bye-bye Welcome to the Family, which was wrongly paired with Parks and Recreation to begin with. I can also live without Sean Hayes' and Michael J Fox's "supposed" comebacks, but one step at a time for poor NBC.
My biggest reservations are for ABC, which has notoriously mistreated its sitcom slate (apart from Modern Family and The Middle) for years now. Why is Suburgatory being treated as this season's Cougar Town, and why couldn't ABC move back Tim Allen's dull but harmless Last Man Standing back to Tuesdays where it did pretty well years back? The TGIF resurrection is not working, let's just call that a day. Couldn't a proven star at least have more value than the weird double team of The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife? Even The Neighbors (which I like; yes I'm in the minority here) is better used on Wednesdays, too. ABC hasn't launched a breakout comedy hit since 2009, so are they just going to hang onto their only two hits for the next 10 years? Why not try and nurture shows rather than just churning out new ones a couple of times a year? I simply am appalled by ABC's four new sitcoms this year, and knowing that Suburgatory, Last Man Standing and Neighbors are likely fighting for survival this year just astounds me. I know I am playing TV programmer from the couch here, but it's frustrating to watch networks play the programming game like it's bingo. — Chris
Matt Roush: Being a backseat amateur programmer comes with the territory this time of the year as we sort through the various wreckage of the fall onslaught. Taking your points in order: Yes to a Dads-Raising Hope switch. Double yes on bringing Community back to Thursdays pronto. And I agree that Suburgatory has no more business being on ABC's back burner than Mike & Molly, with a proven star in Melissa McCarthy, should ever have been relegated to pinch-hitter status on CBS. I understand why ABC continues to try to establish a comedy footprint on Tuesdays, but The Goldbergs and Trophy Wife are mismatched for sure, and either would be better suited for Wednesdays — and while Super Fun Night is neither super nor much fun, I get why ABC gave a major talent like Rebel Wilson the post-Modern Family slot (for now), but yes, it's all pretty much a mess. I'm not sure the TGIF strategy is such a bad one, though. Expectations are low, and Last Man and Neighbors are living down to them with innocuous but harmless content that might not be indulged on nights when more is at stake.
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