Ken Levine on the State of Network Comedies

Hint: He ain’t pleased.

new-comedies-galavant-selfie-blackishby Ken Levine

Now that the Upfronts are over and the networks have announced their fall schedules we can assess the state of comedy. In short: not too good. After a resurgence for a few years due to the success of BIG BANG THEORY and MODERN FAMILY, the networks are cutting back this fall.

MUST SEE TV is no more an NBC tradition, partly because there are no shows on NBC that are must see, and because their comedy cupboard is now pretty bare. So they are scaling back.

And comedy stalwart CBS is cutting its longtime Monday night two-hour comedy block back to one.

According to a recent article in Deadline Hollywood, network executives have said that “comedy is hard.” 

Here’s what’s hard: Choosing the right writers. Choosing the right ideas. Allowing them to make to make the best pilots.

Networks always claim that they are at the mercy of whatever ideas writers bring to them. That’s very true. But networks now hand-pickwho they will hear ideas from. Sometimes it’s not even a writer. It’s a hot company the network wants to be in business with, or an actor or stand-up comedian.

Read it all