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2006-07 Sitcom Scorecard -- Sitcoms Become An Endangered Species


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Written Begging For Comedy Habitat Restoration by Bridger Cunningham

Behold the first season of The Comedy Purge, brought to you by the letters C and W.  After the disastrous 2005-06 sitcom season claimed 31 of the 50 shows, networks downgraded laughers on display a dramatic 40%, leaving viewers with 30 choices.  CBS again ruled the roost, followed by NBC.  FOX took third with the most sitcoms offered at 9, followed by ABC's drastically-reduced population at 6.  And CW left us 4 helpings, two of which would get the axe.  Sitcoms were classified as an endangered species this season, as the invasive reality TV, competition and gameshows invaded their once-fertile 8-10pm reproduction habitat.


How sad to see so few sitcoms left standing as the cruel and real climate of the 2000's ravaged their population and habitat.  In a decade prided on party girls puking in night clubs, regular old people acting like idiots to become celebrities and a decline in robust comedies to guarantee a populated future, sitcoms were downgraded to an endangered species with numbers as dangerously low as the 1984-85 season's 27 helpings.  The difference between that season and 2006-07 was only three shows displayed comedies.  Sitcoms became endangered by the following criteria --

1. Habitat Reduction -- Given the invasive Reality TV species stung the schedule like South American fire ants (see #5), the common sitcom's ideal launch grounds (the 8-10pm timeslots) became susceptible to extirpation.  Save for FOX Sundays and CBS Mondays, the remainder of the schedule was left decimated by dance, singing, surviving and traveling fares (to name strategic and sophisticated invasive species).  Also invading the grounds were less sophisticated fares.  Friday sitcoms vanished from sight until repopulating in fall 2012.  NBC's Must-See-TV was left in threat as Donald Trump's the Apprentice cut the sitcom habitat in half.  ABC Tuesdays and Wednesdays, strong hotbeds for nearly 20 years, were left in ruins as only According to Jim remained.  And CW colonizing weak UPN and CW cut the fertile soils like salting the soil.

2. Failure to Generate Strong Hits To Guarantee The Genre's Survival -- Save for fares in the front of the table, few blockbusters emerged.  How I Met Your Mother and Two and a Half Men grew to sensations well into the early 2000's, and that was where the line drew.  My Name is Earl, previously the #2 sitcom from the previous season, dropped after creative direction fizzled.  The Office and 30 Rock endured through 2013, yet suffered poor scheduling leading to their shells softening.  Rather than foster Rules of Engagement, CBS's shoddy scheduling stifled the burgeoning hits' chances of becoming the next ruling species.  ABC's biggest hit for much of the decade was According to Jim.  Too bad they had to wait till 2009 to get their next enduring species.  FOX managed some success with Sunday sitcoms, yet their ratings never reached the top 20 again.

3. Loss Of Comedy Blocks -- Feeding into #1, habitat destruction of sitcom blocks led to viewers discovering new choices.  Incidentally, the only two blocks remaining on CBS and FOX managed to maintain a plethora of laughers until the doldrums broke in the fall of 2011.  ABC suffered the worst, as comedies were treated as an afterthought until the 2009 season settled the Wednesday block having contained invaders.  NBC made several attempts to regenerate comedic habitats throughout the years with failed results.  They will attempt habitat restoration in the fall of 2017.

4. Destruction of UPN and CW Launch Grounds -- As forgettable and poorly rated as these networks' comedy blocks were, they generated ample space to populate new creative fares.  Their colonization by CW led to a famine which drove sitcoms off the schedule by the decade's end.

5. Invasive Reality TV Species -- Stars look pretty dancing, but they also ruined ABC's prime landing for comedy.  Greed and gameshows did the same to NBC, and other networks kept it cheap and easy, allowing reality TV invade the television landscape like dandelions in virgin environment.  With American Idol trenched in 1st and 2nd, Survivor taking top 20 places and too many other shows who shall not be named, this invasive species ran rampant until early 2014 when the freeze of winter crippled Idol's stranglehold over the ratings.  This freeze allowed some habitat regeneration, along with reduction in reality platform space opening prime comedy launching grounds.

Source -- http://www.sitcomsonline.com/boards/showthread.php?t=201753