NBC Comedy in the early 2010’s was like The Titanic. Plenty of people were yelling “Iceberg right ahead!” But no one at the top was doing anything about it. Some of the problems were understandable — it’s hard to pull the plug on low-Nielsen rated but still beloved shows like 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation and Community. The other problem was on the development side though. They just couldn’t come up with anything that had any sticking power. Coupled with a muddled brand, Must See TV was sunk.
Last year was a turning point for NBC. It takes time to turn a boat around, as it took some time for NBC to finally admit that they should be going mainly after broad comedies. Sure, this causes them to pass on shows like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, but would that show have really worked on network TV? This is going to be a huge development season for them, with a lot of opportunity.
Where do things stand now? Truth Be Told got the quick hook, Undateable’s live experiment didn’t really juice the ratings, and Telenovela was far from caliente. But Superstore did just enough to get a second season and The Carmichael Show is probably the best multi-cam on the air. Looking ahead to this development season, we see some familiar NBC names (Amy Poehler, Mike Schur, Ben Queen, Charlie Grandy, Matt Hubbard, Adam Sztykiel) and some interesting new faces (Marlon Wayans, Craig Ferguson, Vanessa Hudgens, Kristen Bell). I’m interested to give these a read.