ABC did the unthinkable last season and developed 3/4 of a great comedy block. They developed many new family comedies (last pilot season) to fill up the one empty slot and picked up… NONE. Could they have all been that terrible? I had my heart on seeing FUNNY IN FARSI in the 8pm hour this Fall, but alas they went with BETTER WITH YOU. I assume they weren’t satisfied with the comedies they developed and even though BWY wasn’t a perfect fit, (it was muti-cam and quite different tonally than the other 3 comedies) they thought it was funny and sort of fit the family motif of the other 3 comedies. The pilot made me laugh and it does revolve around a family of 3 couples, it has a fantastic cast and great pedigree behind the camera, so as long as it remained funny, no problem.
The problem for me is that the 2 post pilot episodes were not funny at all. It now stands out as an old school sitcom that could have been developed in the 90s in a sea of more compelling, current and funnier ones. I noticed at 8:45 last night after loving THE MIDDLE and awaiting MODERN FAMILY, that I had completely checked out. So now it doesn’t really fit and I didn’t find it funny and it wasn’t holding my interest. Is it possible other viewers felt similarly and changed channels and didn’t return for MODERN FAMILY? If I was an ABC exec I’d be asking those questions.
It is holding most of THE MIDDLE’s numbers but THE MIDDLE is lower than last year and IMHO those numbers should be growing especially since the show is creatvely on. Is it because it’s not leading into to MF anymore or because SURVIVOR is in the hour now? I honestly don’t know. But last year THE MIDDLE was building off of whatever was on at 8p. Currently BWY is holding an acceptable amount of THE MIDDLE, but it’s not building which means some people leave after THE MIDDLE even as there should be pre-tune in audience for MODERN FAMILY. Anyway here is my unsolicited advice for ABC to try sometime this season:
8p THE MIDDLE
8:30 COUGAR TOWN
9:00 MODERN FAMILY
9:30 HAPPY ENDINGS
Yes many think COUGAR TOWN can’t play that early, but have you seen the 8p slot on most of broadcast TV lately, I think it could. Is it any more risqué than COMMUNITY? I also think CT wouldn’t do any worse than it is doing at 9:30 and even though it’s not burning up the Nielsens it has a loyal core audience and I think it would hold all of THE MIDDLE and maybe gain some audience as people tune in for MODERN FAMILY.
HAPPY ENDINGS is the best (and best reviewed) of ABCs new comedies this year and while not a traditional family comedy, it’s about a group of 6 friends have who formed their own family, ala COUGAR TOWN. From 8-10p this comedy block could consist of “friends and family”. I think thematically, tonally and quality wise it would fit, and this block would serve ABC much better.