Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The First Monthly Network, Primetime, Half-Hour, Live-Action Sitcom Rankings

Last season, the four major broadcast networks (sorry, CW), aired a combined 22 primetime, half-hour, live-action sitcoms (the 23rd half hour program, Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update Thursday, was not a situation comedy and therefore will not be included). Exactly half of those 22 will not be returning this upcoming season. Half of the cancelled series were relatively popular and long running shows, such as Scrubs, The New Adventurees of Old Christine, and 'Til Death. Others, like Hank and Brothers, were neither long running or well liked. One, NBC's 100 Questions, I had not heard of before I began writing this.

Starting with this post, every month (near the end of the month) I will rank the currently running network (so no My Boys or anything by Tyler Perry), primetime, half-hour (to avoid the "Is Glee/Desperate Housewives a drama or comedy?" question), live-action (all animated network sitcoms are on Fox, so ranking them seems silly) sitcoms. I admit that of the 11 series, I watch only 8 of them regularly, so I will use the opinions of friends, TV beat writers, and Nielson Ratings in combination with my own opinions. As the new shows debut, I will add them into the rankings but the first set, below, will feature only the 11 returning shows.

#    SHOW                   NETWORK   % OF NEXT SEA.  NIEL. RK ON LIST(ALL SHOWS)
1.  MODERN FAMILY      ABC        100               4       (T21)
2.  BIG BANG THEORY    CBS        100               1         (5)
3.  THE OFFICE         NBC         90               3       (T11)
4.  COMMUNITY          NBC         75               9       (T60)
5.  TWO AND A HALF MEN CBS        100               2        (T9)
6.  30 ROCK            NBC         80               T6      (T36)
7.  PARKS AND REC...   NBC         75               T10     (T63)
8.  HOW I MET YOUR...  CBS         60               5       (T28)
9.  COUGAR TOWN        ABC         50               8       (T40)
10. THE MIDDLE         ABC         25               T10     (T63)
11. RULES OF ENGAG...  CBS         25               T6      (T36)

My predictions for this season- Community and Parks and Rec will bump up in viewership, allowing Community to bypass The Office, and Parks and Rec to jump into the top 5. Big Bang Theory and Modern family will move back and forth between the top 2 spots all year. The Middle and Rules will remain in the bottom 3 of these 11 shows. And How I Met Your Mother will either move into the top 5 or the bottom 3 (including new shows).

My quick views of the new shows, which will debut between September and May:


Better with You- From Wikipedia- "series revolves around three different relationships that are tightly intertwined in one family." That sounds vaguely familiar. It does star the insanely good looking Joanna Garcia (Fun Fact #14- Garcia is engaged to Yankees RF, and HIMYM Guest Star, Nick Swisher) and That 70's Show and Friends' Debra Jo Rupp. Likelihood of a Season 2- 50%

Happy Endings- Again via Wikipedia- "series is based around the lives of a group of friends whose little group will be rocked when the couple that brought them together, Alex and Dave, break up." This has happened on Friends, HIMYM, Big Bang Theory, pretty much every sitcom about a group of friends. Again, we're featuring an attractive actress, this time 24's Elisha Cuthbert, SNL's Casey Wilson, and (and you're going to think I'm making this up but I'm not, I swear, this is accurate) Damon Wayans Jr.. Likelihood of a Season 2- 10%

Mr. Sunshine- Just guess- "sports arena manager for the Sunshine Center, a second-tier arena in San Diego...goes through a mid-life crisis when he turns 40, while dealing with the unusual demands of his job and his unpredictable boss." Someone actually came up with an original story! This has an A+ cast, with Friends' Matthew Perry, along with West Wing's Allison Janney, Studio 60's Nate Torrence, Joey/Better Off Ted's Andrea Anders, and produced and directed by Tommy Schlamme. The only possible downfall is that, like Perry's last show Studio 60, it will become too expensive to continue. Likelihood of a Season 2- 85%


Mike and Molly- Wiki- "series, set in Chicago, follows two overweight people...who meet at an Overeaters Anonymous group and become an unlikely pair. However, they also have to deal with the comments, jokes, and criticism." This show should border between horrendous and offensive. Stars Gilmore Girls'/Samantha Who's Melissa McCarthy (Fun Fact #15- Melissa is cousins with former Playmate Jenny McCarthy), Emmy and Tony Award winning actress Swoosie Kurtz, and- oh who cares, I'm never watching this show anyway. Likelihood of a Season 2- 5%

$#*! (Pronounced Bleep) My Dad Says- The first sitcom based on a twitter account! Wiki- "Ed is a very opinionated 72-year-old who has been divorced three times. His two adult sons, Henry and Vince, are accustomed to his unsolicited and often politically incorrect rants. When Henry, a struggling writer and blogger, can no longer afford his rent, he is forced to move back in with Ed, which creates new issues in their tricky father-son relationship." I don't know. This show could be awesome. It could be a disaster. It could "boldly go where no show has gone before." That's right. It stars William Shatner. Also King of Queens' Nicole Sullivan (Fun Fact #16- King of Queens was the final live action sitcom that began in the 1990s when it ended in 2007). Likelihood of a Season 2- 50%

Mad Love- Wiki- "four twentysomething New Yorkers – Kate, Connie, Larry and Henry – are searching for love in the city. When Kate and Henry meet and fall for each other, their friends remain cynical about the relationship." Yes, it's like half the sitcoms developed since Friends (the other half have been about fat/shlumpy husbands with hot wives). But it stars Scrubs' Sarah Chalke, American Pie's Jason Biggs, and hilarious in anything and everything Judy Greer. Yeah, I think it's gunna be pretty good. Fun Fact #17- Sarah Chalke and Judy Greer both appeared on HIMYM with Alyson Hannigan, who played the prom date/girlfriend/fiance of Jason Biggs in the American Pie movies. Likelihood of a Season 2- 85%


Raising Hope- Wiki- "23-year-old must raise his infant daughter, conceived by a one-night stand, with the help of his flawed family after the baby's mother is sent to jail." Again, this could possibly be hilarious. But it could just as easily suck. But building a cast around Martha Plimpton and Cloris Leachman worries me. Likelihood of a Season 2- 33%

Running Wilde- Fox hasn't developed a successful live-action sitcom since Arrested Development, so the fact they haven't attempted this yet is crazy. Wiki doesn't even have a plot, but it doesn't matter. It is created and directed by AD's Mitch Hurwitz and stars AD's Will Arnett and David Cross. And Felicity aka Keri Russell. Likelihood of being good is 99%. Likelihood of a Season 2- 66%

Mixed Signals- All Wiki gives us is that its based on the Israeli show Ramzor. Ramzor is about "three friends in their mid-thirties...Each of them is in a distinct relationship condition (symbolized by the three colors of a traffic light). Itzko is the "red light": married with a 7 year old daughter. Amir is the "yellow light": He lives with his girlfriend "Tali". Hefer is the "green light": He has no permanent partner." I don't know how similar they will be, but this sounds like Rules of Engagement. It stars The Office's David Denman and a bunch of other people with limited fame. Likelihood of a Season 2- 30%


Outsourced- Wiki- "set in a Mumbai, India, call center, where an American novelties company has recently outsourced its order processing. A lone American manages the call center and must explain American popular culture to his employees as he comes to understand Indian culture." It's also based on a movie. This could easily be the funny show that just doesn't find an audience this season. Stars nobody famous. Likelihood of a Season 2- 15%

Friends with Benefits- Wiki- "series follows the very close friendship between two single people who are looking for the perfect mate, and their friends who question their relationship but at the same time have their own romantic problems to deal with." What an original concept. This vaguely reminds me of half the series we already covered, but with a less noteworthy cast, and on a network that has been much more successful with single camera shows. Likelihood of a Season 2- 20%

The Paul Reiser Show- Wiki- "a former television star who hasn't worked on a television series in several years." Paul Reiser came up with the idea himself. Who knows how. It stars- you'll never guess this- Paul Reiser. No idea how many episodes it will take before Helen Hunt pops up. This worked with Larry David when he could curse on HBO and because people loved Seinfeld. You never see Mad About You reruns on tv, do you? Likelihood of a Season 2- 10%

Perfect Couples- Wiki- "revolves around three unique couples at various stages in their relationships, yet who face similar problems." No kidding. Stars Attack of the Show!'s Olivia Munn (insanely good looking) and a bunch of people with failed series on their IMDB page. Likelihood of a Season 2- 30%

And that ends it. We'll talk about, and have an updated rankings, the shows that debut in late September.

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