Monthly Archives: March 2011

Sitcom Survey: NBC | BP at the Daily

'Parks and Recreation' is the best comedy currently on TV.

In today’s issue of the Tufts Daily, I have my fourth and final piece in a four-part series investigating the current state of network television comedy. I’m taking a network by network approach, and today’s installment focuses on NBC.

NBC is a struggling network. It is currently in fourth place among the broadcast networks in total viewership, averaging 7.39 million viewers, and is tied for third place in adults 18-49 (the coveted advertiser demographic) with a 2.4 rating average.

The fact that NBC lacks a certifiable hit, though (aside from “The Office” and maybe “Law and Order: SVU”), has been a blessing in disguise for most of the network’s Comedy Night Done Right lineup. “Community,” “Parks and Recreation” and even multiple Emmy-winner “30 Rock” all underperform in the ratings, but since the ratings threshold is so low, their performances are acceptable and good enough to be renewed for new seasons (as all four aforementioned comedies have been).

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Sitcom Survey: ABC | BP at the Daily

‘Modern Family’ is one of ABC’s most acclaimed shows, but does it deserve all the praise?

In today’s issue of the Tufts Daily, I have my third piece in a four-part series investigating the current state of network television comedy. I’m taking a network by network approach, and today’s focus is on ABC.

CBS is home to the mass-appeal, more traditional sitcom, Fox has a stronghold on animation and NBC boasts a lineup of critically acclaimed single-camera comedies. So where does that leave ABC?

The network had somewhat of a comedy resurgence last season, when it premiered “Modern Family,” “Cougar Town” and “The Middle” all to some level of success (all three were renewed for a second season, and have since been renewed for a third as well). “Modern Family” was quickly heralded as the comeback of the family comedy and was, along with Fox’s “Glee,” the breakout hit of the 2009-10 TV season. The other two flew more under the radar, but have developed into solid hits.

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Sitcom Survey: Fox | BP at the Daily

"Bob's Burgers" is a welcome addition to the Fox Animation Domination lineup.

In today’s issue of the Tufts Daily, I have my second piece in a four-part series investigating the current state of network television comedy. I’m taking a network by network approach, and today’s focus is on Fox.

Just as CBS has become the Chuck Lorre laugh factory, Fox serves the same function for Seth MacFarlane. His three series, “Family Guy,” “American Dad!” and “The Cleveland Show,” are the bedrock of the network’s Sunday night Animation Domination lineup, and at this point often draw more viewers than Fox’s other signature animated show, “The Simpsons.”

As with CBS, though, popularity is not necessarily a measure of quality. MacFarlane’s shows have proven immensely profitable for him and for Fox, but have done so largely by appealing to the lowest common denominator, with cheap humor, gross-out gags and little-to-no character development.

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Sitcom Survey: CBS | BP at the Daily

"How I Met Your Mother" is CBS' best sitcom

In today’s issue of the Tufts Daily, I have my first piece in a four-part series investigating the current state of network television comedy. I’m taking a network by network approach, and today’s focus is on CBS.

Broadcast television runs on advertising revenue. TV networks charge higher ad rates for their more popular programs, since more people watching a particular show means more people watching the commercials during it.

More important than total viewers, though, is the adults 18−49 demographic. The rationale is that these relatively younger viewers are less likely to be set in their ways regarding brand loyalty. Advertisers are willing to pay more to reach those viewers because, to them, it is a better investment.

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Modern Family | “Boys’ Night”

I’m on spring break, so I don’t want to spend too much time writing my review this week, but I figure I should post something just to stay up-to-date. So, after a two-week break, Modern Family was back with a new episode last night, and I have a quick review of it after the jump.

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Why ‘Fringe’ deserves a second chance | BP at the Daily

My review of Fringe ran in today’s edition of the Tufts Daily. The article is the latest edition of “Second Chances,” a semi−recurring feature that looks at TV shows that deserve a second chance from viewers. Their ratings may be low, but their quality is high, so if you tuned out early on, here’s our case for why you should give each show another try.

Sci−fi is a tough genre to get right, especially on television. Scientific jargon about aliens and other dimensions doesn’t sit well with the average audience, so sci−fi shows have to carefully balance their genre roots with more exciting action and characters to rope viewers in and keep them watching.

“The X−Files” (1993−2002) did it quite successfully (though arguably less so in its later years), and “Lost” (2004−10) was ABC’s flagship series for the duration of its run. But then there are cases, like “Firefly” (2002−03), which barely last a season. Even “Lost,” well, lost a good chunk of its viewership once it embraced its sci−fi side and revealed itself to be as much about time travel and electromagnetic energy as about its characters.

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Glee | “Original Song”

Glee aired a new episode last night, and I have a review of it after the jump.

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