The four biggest sitcoms of the last 30 years were all NBC shows, and they were all somewhat broad: Seinfeld, Cheers, The Cosby Show, and Friends. But they were also original for their time: A show about nothing; an after-workplace comedy that dealt with social issues and recurring themes; the first family sitcom to center on an upper class black family; and, of course, Friends, which doesn’t seem novel now because every show is Friends, but a collection of attractive people who did mostly nothing was novel at the time.
Well that’s just wonderful. Let me think of my favourite (currently airing, US-based) comedies right now:
Community, 30 Rock, Parks and Rec, How I Met Your Mother.
See a pattern? Excluding HIMYM they’re all “witty”, “sophisticated”, “critically-acclaimed” shows on NBC. Which also happen to have poor Nielsen ratings.
I was going to ramble on about why Nielsen ratings are dated, but you can just read about that anywhere on the Web.
Hopefully NBC execs will come to their senses and our “sophisticated” comedies will live on. Or perhaps it’s time for a new way to fund and distribute quality entertainment?