How come cable hasn’t dominated comedy the same way it dominates drama?

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  • Daniel Montgomery
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    #222076

    Think about the most acclaimed and talked about dramas on TV and you’d come up with mostly cable shows like “Boardwalk Empire,” “Breaking Bad,” “Justified,” “Mad Men,” and so on. These days, very few broadcast dramas generate a lot of buzz. At the Critics Choice Awards, only 2 of the 10 nominees were broadcast shows (“Fringe” and “The Good Wife”), unless you count “Friday Night Lights,” which became a broadcast/satellite hybrid with its DirecTV deal.

     

    But on the comedy side, 8 of the nominees were from broadcast networks. The only cable shows were “Archer” and “Louie.” How come cable has become such a dominant force in drama, but has not done the same in comedy? Certainly cable has had success with comedy (Showtime’s comedies, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Entourage”), but the broadcast networks still seem to be where the action is.

     

    Is there something about networks that makes them more conducive to successful comedies? And with so many good comedies on the networks, why aren’t their dramas just as good?

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    Irishmovielover4ever
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    #222078

    Cable Dramas are very respected while cable comedys have alot of drama to it

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    Trent
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    #222079

    eoindaly2k11 said it best. Many comedies on cable are very dramatic. FX comedies may be the only exception. Even some acclaimed cable dramas have some comedy to them, like Breaking Bad and Roger Sterling on Mad Men.

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    eastwest
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    #222080

    I think it comes down to what eiondaly2k11 said. And w/that to makes some predix changes 

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    iskolar
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    #222081

    Yeah most cable comedies tend to go with overdramatic stuff added with a touch of comedy instead of the other way around. This is why only the performances gets rewarded (Collette, Falco etc.) It’s more of an acting vehicle than a series one.

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    ladyhathor
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    #222082

    I’d have to agree.  The shows on cable veer much closer to drama.  There are a lot of very dramatic black comedies on cable.  This doesn’t seem to be what the voters are looking for.

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    Spenser Davis
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    #222083

    I also wonder if comedies aren’t pushed more on the networks — ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX — than they are on cable. When I think about some of the funniest shows on cable, they are actually not comedies at all, but rather very dark-humoured dramas. Breaking Bad is one that comes to mind; Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul sometimes come across as The Odd Couple, and yet it is, at the end of the day, a show about two men whose lives are destroyed because of their involvement in the illegal drug trade. Or Dexter… laugh all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that the series’ hero is a man who will kill anyone who gets in his way.

     

    I don’t think that there is a tolerance for dark humor or character ambiguity on the broadcast channels… I think that straight comedies (like Modern Family) are more of their cup of tea. Broadcast networks have some great comedies, don’t get me wrong, but the series that fall into that category do not possess a character from the “grey area” like some of the cable shows do. Some might say that is why Lone Star should’ve been on FX instead of FOX, because it’s male lead was too much of an anti-hero.

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    iskolar
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    #222084

    Yes, and dark humor (which can probably find topics ranging from depression to cancer) has more topics that can be variedly discussed in cable than in network shows. Just compare the treatment used in the cancer storyline of The Big C, and Desperate Housewives.

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