With Paul Lee out at ABC, you’d expect their comedy lineup to be in shambles. That’s actually not the case though. The man who once greenlit Work It — not just to pilot, but also to series — left things in pretty good shape. Modern Family still draws very solid numbers, with Black-ish retaining a healthy chunk of it’s lead-in audience. A trio of other family comedies — The Goldbergs, The Middle, and Fresh Off the Boat — get both critical praise and Nielsen Ratings. And freshman series Dr. Ken proved Friday comedy and multi-cam are both still viable.
All is not perfect for new president Channing Dungey though. Galavant and The Real O’Neals are on life support, with little chance of renewal. More pressing is the likely cancellation of The Muppets. This was a show with a strong brand name and plenty of promotion. A seeming can’t miss, with potential juggernaut ratings. But rushing it into production, and not quite nailing a tone, sunk the series. A tremendous wasted opportunity.
Whenever there’s a regime change, the new president tends to over-greenlight to give a little wiggle room. With twelve comedies to pick from, but only three likely cancellations, I can still see Dungey going forward with up to five pilots to series. The question is, does she pick: A.) More family comedies, which have worked, but are reaching saturation point B.) Workplace or friends comedies, considering they don’t have any of those on the air or C.) High concept comedies similar to the likely cancelled Muppets and Galavant?