Ask Matt: Sitcom Scheduling, HIMYM, Leverage, Big Bang, Homeland, Parenthood and More
Dan Byrd and Courteney Cox | Photo Credits: Danny Feld/TBS
Question: Now that Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 have been banished to Sundays nights to wither away, isn't this a lesson we all saw coming by piling on sitcoms against each other on Tuesdays? I can potentially see ABC saving Happy Endings to prolong its syndication opportunities, but both shows were buried without much support (premiering in late October) and ABC seems to have gone down the Cougar Town route again. Apart from protected golden child Modern Family and reliable The Middle, ABC has a poor record of keeping their sitcoms on the air over the last several years, and now we have two more to add to the long list here. It's only a matter of time before Suburgatory enjoys a similar fate. Throwing them opposite hot thing New Girl and a Matthew Perry vehicle Go On seemed foolish on ABC's part.
Speaking of Go On, (which has grown on me), considering it has done well and seems awfully similar to Community, why couldn't NBC have capitalized by pairing the two together? It could have given Community a fighting chance rather than again (theme alert here) be banished to NBC's low-rated Thursday nights where it's sure to not crack a 2.0 [rating in the 18-49] demographic. Some great sitcoms out there, but they all seem to have lost confidence from their networks. Isn't stability supposed to be the key for viewers? What's with these moronic moves? — Chris
Matt Roush: Before we start with ABC, let me use this as an opportunity to give a Happy New Year toast to Cougar Town, and plug its return this Tuesday (10/9c) on TBS, which rescued this deeply silly show from its former network's inexplicable neglect. As for those left behind, the double-running of ABC's sitcoms on Sundays and Tuesdays is only a temporary stopgap (at least for now), but there's no doubt the logjam of sitcoms on Tuesdays in the 9/8c hour wasn't beneficial to these Wednesday outcasts. The dominoes really began to fall when ABC pushed Cougar Town out of the Wednesday lineup, seeking (in vain) a show that would hold on to more of Modern Family's huge audience. The network is also looking to expand its comedy presence on other nights, which is understandable, and while ABC is having modest success on Fridays with its "TGIF"-flavored retro sitcoms, the edgier Tuesday shows didn't fare so well against so much competition, and getting a late start didn't help.
Regarding NBC: I'm just glad Community isn't airing on Fridays (the original plan), and given what a miracle this fourth season is, I'm not going to chide the network on how it's being programmed. Putting the show back on Thursdays won't grow its audience — which was never likely to happen anyway — but at least we're used to it being there. As far as stability, it makes more sense to me for NBC to keep supporting The New Normal (which has really grown on me) by letting it continue to air alongside a modest breakout like Go On. And while we're doing New Year's shout-outs: Belated congrats to Normal co-creator Ryan Murphy on becoming a father, life imitating art here.