Network television is having a bit of a hard time at the moment. With so much great content out there coming from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon and premium and cable networks like HBO and AMC, it’s hard for a typical network television show to truly get the attention of fans. This problem is particularly difficult for comedy shows, as the majority of the most popular series on television are gripping dramas, ripe with violence and sex. Perhaps no network knows the struggle to produce a successful comedy series in the 2010’s than NBC. The peacock has had a never ending line of new comedies which are promptly cancelled after their first season or two. But now it appears that this will change.
NBC’s Entertainment President Jennifer Salke recently made an appearance at SeriesFest: Season Two in Denver, where she participated in a panel about New Voices. During the panel, Salke admitted some of the faults of NBC’s comedy shows, and discussed the network’s reworked comedy brand. She also admits that perhaps NBC was a bit too eager to cancel shows before they truly got their footing. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Salke has vowed that “we won’t cancel shows quickly,” instead focusing on fixing any problems with the individual shows.
This is quite the departure for the network. NBC has been a comedy canceling machine for years now. Some really unique comedies have been introduced and quickly cancelled recently, including entire nights of programming. This year saw NBC cancelling their comedy series Undateable (which had switched over to a live format, containing musical guests), Eva Longoria’s _Telenovela, _Debra Messing’s cop dramedy Mysteries of Laura, and the sitcom Crowded. While this makes room for new programming like the DC Universe comedy Powerless, it has continued a strong trend of cancellations which essentially disqualify NBC from being a player in the comedy world at all (except for SNL of course).
The recent reality that NBC is almost nonexistent in the world of TV comedies would have seemed unfathomable in the past. NBC was the home of some of the longest-running and most acclaimed sitcoms of all time, including Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, and The Golden Girls.
Additionally, the network produced more modern comedy greats like 30 Rock, The Office, and Parks and Recreation. Of course, NBC seemed to already be on their path of cancellation with those last two, as both Parks and The Office struggled to avoid cancellation during their long runs. While The Office eventually became a massive hit, Parks had to work to stay running and narrowly avoided cancellation quite a few times.
Do you think its time for NBC to put some time and effort into fixing problems with comedies that are in their infancies? Or is the network just doing what makes the most sense financially? Sound off in the comments below.