October 14, 2011 at 1:58 pm #231816
If you ask me what the top 6 best comedies on TV are, 3 out of the 6 would be on NBC. The rest would be one from Fox, one from CBS and one from ABC (try to guess which ones I’m talking about).
Parks and Recreation, Community and 30 Rock are three of the smartest, most brilliant shows on television. 30 Rock dominates/dominated awards shows and has star power and critical acclaim. Parks and Recreation has miles and miles of critical acclaim and star power as well. Community (although less critically loved then the other two) has wide appeal with well-known film and TV actors (Chevy Chase, Alison Brie, Joel McHale somewhat counts after years on The Soup). I consistently laugh watching all of these shows.
Why are they three of the lowest rated shows on broadcast TV?
NBC used to be the flagship network, leading the Nielsen ratings with shows like Cheers, Frasier, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, Friends and even medical dramas like ER. Will and Grace also had fantastic ratings.
Then it died.
Why is NBC no longer supported by audiences? Why do shows with very low quality like Two and a Half Men and Glee draw in record audiences but the smartest shows with the highest quality writing and the most advanced writing teams and stellar ensembles (like the NBC comedies) have to suffer less than 1% in the demo?October 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm #231818
well glee isnt doing great anymore, and neither is any network for that matter besides cbs. for whatever reason what cbs decides to air it will hold at least 10+ million viewers. you put a show like prime suspect or charlies angels on cbs they’re massive hits. i dont understand all the love for that network. they have 3 shows that they are all the time. csi criminal minds and ncis. and those are all shows taylor made for people over 50.October 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm #231819
30 Rock and particularly Community are not as accessable as shows like The Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men, or at least that’s my guess. Parks and Recreation and The Office are both very obvious forms of humor, but neither are very popular, especially with the departure of Steve Carrell from The Office. Maybe there’s a need for canned laughter or big gawdy sing and dance performances. Perhaps there is just a demand for formulaic and unorignal procedurals.October 14, 2011 at 5:43 pm #231820
^ People are definitely looking for formulaic and unoriginal procedures. However, you have to look at the average age of a CBS viewer versus the average age of a FOX or NBC viewer.October 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm #231821
I think the reason why NBC does so horribly isn’t because of its comedies, but rather, everything else….
1.) First of all, NONE of the blame should go to any of NBC’s staple comedies. Community, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and The Office (even without Carell) are four of the finest comedies you’ll ever see, and their track record stands behind that:
– Take a look at this link: http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-critics-pick-ten-best-tv-shows-of-2010
According to that scorecard, Community was the highest-critically acclaimed comedy of 2010 (even better than Modern Family by one spot) and 4th most lauded show overall behind Boardwalk and AMC’s fearsome twosome of Breaking Bad and Mad Men. It is also probably the most inventive comedy since Arrested Development was on the air.
– Besides landing their first Best Comedy nod, Parks and Rec probably had the best season of any show in 2011. Yup, that’s right…ANY show..that includes Mad Men and everything else. In fact, when they create this list again, if Parks doesn’t break top three, I’ll be shocked. It was ridiculously good in its 3rd year. Every episode was A grade.
– 30 Rock and The Office need no explanation. They have four Best Comedy Emmys combined and are two of the most syndicated shows on cable. They have also become two of the most influential comedies of their time…just ask the tons of crappy rip offs.
However, I think why they do so poorly in ratings is simply because they’re too smart and out-of-the-box for most viewers. I know it sounds mean, but it’s true. Viewers want a cheap and easy laugh, no matter how stupid or unoriginal it is.(Just ask 2 1/2 Men and almost every other CBS sitcom)
Take, for instance, back in the 90s. Despite winning 5 STRAIGHT EMMYS for Best Comedy, Frasier still lagged in ratings behind Friends because viewers didn’t want to be challenged by Frasier’s subtle and intelligent brand of comedy. Now, I am not going to lie. Friends is one of my favorite TV shows ever, but, even so, I still get some hearty belly laughs out of watching Frasier, which is another show I love. I am open to intelligent comedy, but, sadly, many people are not. That is part of the reason why NBC’s comedies don’t do well. …But, hey, it’s not their fault that they’re actually original and smart television shows with actual uncanned laughs.
I got a little long winded here LOL, so I’ll give more reasons in another postOctober 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm #231822
….Oh yeah, and I WILL NEVER consider Whitney a staple, thus why I didn’t include itOctober 14, 2011 at 6:42 pm #231823
Whitney is NBC’s stab at CBS style comedy, and they fail horribly.October 14, 2011 at 6:47 pm #231824
The difference now is Community, Parks, Office, and 30 Rock are all smart without being smug. Which means Americans have become smug. But in the sense that if they don’t understand something they think it is stupid. I have watched this country go down this road for years and when I was surpised for years have found the dumbing down of America not so prudent. Who do advertisers prefer? Stupid Americans or intelligent ones? Now, America as a whole is dumb and have been bred into mindless consumers. And it makes it insufferable to live here.October 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm #231825
Okay, here we are.. more reasons for NBC’s problems:
2.) They don’t advertise very well.
Let me give you an example. About two weeks ago, I saw billions of promos on NBC and on the web for Prime Suspect (another awful show). Yet, they only advertised for Community and Parks and Rec twice on TV…..and one of those times was 10 minutes before Community aired.
Whoever is in charge of Advertising at that network should be fired, like, NOW. The ads at the network are unbalanced and don’t showcase the entire network. Hell, I know about all of CBS’s shows this year, and I’ve barely watched CBS except for Craig Ferguson and Blue Bloods. That’s how good CBS is at advertising. If NBC took a cue from them, their ratings might be better.
3.) The “Conan” thing
Yup, even almost two years later, people are still holding a massive grudge against the network for this. I know….just read Youtube comments and you’ll see. Now, I’m going to be honest, even though I’m a fan of his, I don’t think Conan was a good fit for the Tonight Show style. And as much as people want to blame Leno, ALL of the blame for this disaster goes to that idiot Jeff Zucker and his band of dummy executives. When this happened, it was a rebellion waiting to happen. Conan became a martyr, and it became cool to hate on NBC, and I still think people feel that way…for this same event. I don’t think NBC fully recovered from it.October 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm #231826
well pretty much everything u said is right, very nice points BUT….
I wouldn’t ever call Cbs’s Mike & Molly or How I Met Your Mother stupid shows and ” easy laughs ”, I think they are both very inteligent shows unlike 2.5 men that became not so good in the last 2 or 3 years and big bang theory which is going way down in inspite of this week episode which was grade A. well If that’s what u meant I only disagree in that.October 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm #231827
Remember I said “almost” every CBS sitcom. I agree with you about HIMYM, but I disagree with Mike and Molly. Individually, I think Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy (Just watch Bridesmaids and last weeks SNL) are hilarious. However, I gave the show a few chances, and all I got were a bunch of sex and fat jokes that fell flat. I love them, just not the show.October 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm #231828
Ye it’s true, Mike & Molly has to grow a lot more to be recognized by the show as a whole. not only the lead actors credits, but I really love the show because of them haha so I can’t say muchOctober 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm #231829
People just don’t like to pay attention, the “majority of Americans are not smart” excuse was never true and won’t cut it anymore. It’s just lazyness.
You can’t expect to go into these shows and have the comedy thrown in your face, you either pay attention or you won’t get it. It’s not easy to like these shows and Community is the one who has it worse, very difficult show.
It’s like Scrubs years ago and Arrested Development. Even on sitcoms that look ordinary but are incredibly good like Happy Endings, you have to stay with the episode from begining to end. Cougar Town is another example. And people just won’t do it.
And FYI, it’s not just NBC and it’s not just Americans. I live in a country and in a city where people LOVE to watch american sitcoms and dramas, and you won’t find a lot of people that are into these shows. But they go crazy for Two and a Half Men, a Friends re-run (a show I adore), Big Bang and (still) Grey’s Anatomy.
I still don’t understand and I’m very pleasantly surprised each week when I see those ratings for The Middle. It’s sooo not a traditional sitcom and somehow, people watch it like they do. At least one of these shows is having a good time on the air with ratings.
And I know I’ll get killed for this, but whatever Modern Family had the first half of season 1, they lost it, and when they did…guess what went up. Ratings. People don’t like to think and pay attention, they like Sofia Vergara yelling with her accent.October 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm #231830
No, buddy, no ones gonna come after you
Even though I’m a huge Modern Family fan, their second season, while fantastic, was not nearly as superb as their first.
I actually thought Parks and Rec should have beat them for the Emmy this year…Now THEY were superb this year
– Back to the original subject, I agree. Like I said, people dont want to be challenged. They’re not stupid, they just don’t want the challenge, which is a shame because, sometimes, the challenge pays offOctober 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm #231831
I believe their three biggest issues have been:
Remember when ABC was in the ratings toilet just ten years ago? Then came Lost and Desperate Housewives. ABC was able to build their programming around those shows’ success. The ratings and media attention for those series helped ABC skewer further hits like Grey’s Anatomy. In 2000 NBC had juggernauts like Friends, The West Wing, ER and Will & Grace, but they never really attempted to build around those shows. They never used those shows as a springboard for new programming. So when those hit shows left/became less popular so did much of the audience. FOX and CBS have also done better jobs as using their big shows to support the smaller/newer ones. NBC needs to find their next big show, and hopefully they’ll use the weight of that series properly.
They simply don’t promote their shows well. When a series isn’t an immediate hit, especially if it’s an out of the box show, the advertisements diminish greatly. Their advertising also isn’t very smart. They seem to go out of their way to make every one of their shows look idiotic. They made Friday Night Lights look like it was just a “football show”. Heroes probably could have been a bigger initial hit had the commercials not been so damn stupid. And their comedies always look anemic in promos.
Cable, CBS and ABC
The broadening options on cable have affected every broadcast network but has particularly hurt NBC. The hipsters have moved to Showtimes, AMC, FX, Comedy Central, etc. CBS started getting better than NBC at producing and advertising their procedurals, and ABC started its “chick shows” moments, so the women and gays left as well.
People not wanting to be challenged is a problem but it’s not the biggest.