TV comedy revolution fails to materialize

Fall 2010 skeds will have same number of half-hours as 2009

For those expecting a great comedy revolution on broadcasters' fall schedules, last week may have been a little bit of a letdown.

Although networks snatched up half-hour titles from studios during the run-up to the upfronts, the start of the season will feel pretty similar to last year.

There were 20 half-hour comedies on the schedule last fall. There are 20 on the schedule this fall. Last year, 10 of the fall comedies were new shows; this year seven.

If you add hourlong shows that networks classify as comedy, such as Fox's "Glee," there's arguably one more hour this year if you include both NBC's "Love Bites" and Fox's summer cop series "The Good Guys," which the network intends to roll into fall.

Which isn't to say the comedy boom is a bust. Networks are demonstrating newfound confidence in the genre by putting comedies in more aggressive time periods -- Fox scheduling its two live-action comedies on Tuesday instead of Fridays and CBS shifting its hourlong comedy block from Wednesdays to Thursdays.

Also, networks are expected to have more comedies in reserve for midseason.

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"There's clearly been a big emphasis on comedy, and we look at that as homage to 'Modern Family,'" said 20th TV chairman Gary Newman. "This was possibly the best year the studio has ever had."

20th produced three breakout comedies last season -- "Modern," "Glee," and "Cleveland" -- and tied the studio tally for next season among new comedy pickups.

Warner Bros. led the total new series tally with 11 shows, including four comedies. 20th will supply four new comedies out of seven overall. UMS has six new shows on the fall schedule and three comedies. ABC Studios has seven shows, including one comedy. Sony Pictures Television had three new broadcast shows, with two comedies (plus "Franklin & Bash" for TNT). CBS Prods. has five new dramas for midseason. Lionsgate has one new comedy.
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