Commentary

Network TV: OK To Laugh Now?

Is network TV's comedy economy coming back?

 

The overall U.S. economy may have a slower build-back. But early signs are that TV's comedy market -- sitcoms, including  single-camera shows, and  talk shows -- might be improving.

Prime evidence comes from the fact that CBS' "The Big Bang Theory" is now up to a 5.1 rating/12 share among 18-49 viewers, topping for the second week in a row CBS' usual Monday night leader, "Two and a Half Men."

Also adding to the early comedy trend line, ABC's two new comedies, "Modern Family" and "Cougar Town," both pulled strong 4.0 plus ratings in their first week.

Contributing somewhat less in terms of big ratings has been CBS' "Accidentally On Purpose,"which came in with a smaller, but very decent, 3.1/8 number.

Before the season started there were good reviews for the likes of NBC's "Community" -- which seemed to signal a resurgence for more TV scripts with more laughs. (Unfortunately, "Community"'s first week of ratings offered up a C minus grade in community college terms, as well as a "See me after class" note from the teacher.)

Some may want to include NBC's effort with Jay Leno at 10 p.m. as part of the resurgence. At the moment, "The Jay Leno Show" is earning its "Comedy at 10" marketing stripes -- a 1.8 rating among 18-49 viewers, a number it can sell to advertisers.

Added to this are any number of dramas with more comedy elements, including second-year shows like CBS' "The Mentalist" and ABC's "Castle."

All the fundamentals of a comedy revival are ready. But with the overall TV advertising market and the U.S. economy still in a serious -- if not weakened -- state, everyone is cautious. The sound you hear may be just some nervous laughter.

1 comment about "Network TV: OK To Laugh Now?".
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  1. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., September 30, 2009 at 1:53 p.m.

    Leno with a 1.8? That IS funny - too bad the show is just as lame as it's ratings. Seriously, the stilted celebrity remote interviews are almost embarrassing. "What's your favorite junk food" (or whatever) ...is this the best a team of writers can come up with? Truly the decline of western civilization.

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