NBC seems to be struggling in their continuous efforts to add another smash comedy to their line-up, where the critically-acclaimed Parks & Recreation seems to be the only real winner. The Peacock Network has now cancelled two of their freshmen comedies, The Michael J. Fox Show (starring Michael J. Fox as…a guy named Michael Henry) and Sean Saves the World. The Jane Lynch-hosted celebrity game show Hollywood Game Night will fill in episodes on Thursday nights after the Olympics.
The two are among many NBC comedy shows that just don’t seem to hit. Of the 7 new shows that came to the network last year, none were renewed for second seasons. Ever since The Office and 30 Rock went off the air, Thursday nights have seemed a lot emptier. Only Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope and Community have been surviving season to season. The once-dominant network used to be the home to sitcom legends The Cosby Show, Friends, and Seinfeld. But other than its dominant late-night programming with Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show, and Late Night, no one would consider NBC a key destination for comedy.
Maybe this year’s pilot season will finally deliver a winner to pull NBC’s comedy line-up out of its slump. NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt has currently ordered 15 comedy pilots, including shows from Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler, Craig Robinson, and Ellen DeGeneres. There are also two straight-to-series orders for next fall: Tina Fey’s untitled comedy starring Ellie Kemper as a woman who escapes from a doomsday cult and starts life over in New York and Working the Engels, about a family that bands together to keep their heads above water after the loss of their father leaves them with a pile of debt. No one knows what the answer is for NBC. But won’t they feel silly if it turns out they passed on this generation’s Seinfeld if the John Mulaney show ends up being a hit at Fox?