The New Lessons of Fall TV
Comedy rules, as does Fox (even without "American Idol").
Five weeks into the new television season, and aconsensus has emerged: Comedy is king. Whatever has sent viewers to the tube in search of a laugh -- the dire economy and stubbornly high unemployment or simply the cyclical nature of primetime programming trends -- a preponderance of freshman shows getting full-season orders have been sitcoms. Fox and CBS, the Nos. 1 and 2 networks, quickly ordered full seasons of New Girl and 2 Broke Girls, respectively. NBC followed suit with Whitney and Up All Night. ABC already has given Suburgatory a full-season order, and Tim Allen's pricey Last Man Standing -- which bowed to strong ratings Oct. 11 and brought men to the female-skewing network on a night when Fox had Game 3 of Major League Baseball's American League Championship Series -- is a shoo-in to score a pickup.
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