Why FOX’s new 2012-2013 comedy lineup will work
There’s a new trend in town: the half-hour comedy is back with a renewed force this season. Here’s why FOX will succeed with its new line-up on Tuesday nights.
FOX’s live-action comedies haven’t done historically well. Other than Married with Children and That ’70s Show, only their animated comedies have lasted more than a season or two (OK, maybe three). So is it smart to take the risk this season and build an entire night’s schedule around potentially short-lived half-hour comedies? For FOX, the time is ripe, and they are smart enough to run with it.
Last season saw great success with Raising Hope and New Girl. FOX decided to expand Tuesday nights to an all-comedy block and add two new half-hour comedies, Ben & Kate and The Mindy Project. No drama is going to fill House‘s eight-season-sized shoes and FOX isn’t even trying — a smart move. Sure, there’s The Mob Doctor, but the similarities to House end with the time slot and the hospital setting; FOX is not putting their eggs in that basket, which is proven by the amount of marketing being done for the comedies in comparison with The Mob Doctor‘s promos.
It’s immensely brilliant for FOX to build on current successes and not try to carbon-copy past hits. Hop on over to NBC and you’ll see failure after failure, because they’re trying to recreate the success they’ve had with The Office and it’s just not happening. FOX, on the other hand, is making radical decisions and taking risks, letting the past eight seasons of success go and moving on to what’s working for them now.
Ben & Kate has the perfect lead-in in Raising Hope. While not quite as irreverent as Raising Hope, it is a zany family comedy that I suspect will retain much of the Raising Hope audience.
New Girl is also the perfect lead-in to The Mindy Project. People who love the quirky Zooey will stay around to watch the quirky Mindy. Just an aside here — what is NBC thinking, letting Mindy Kaling‘s show go to FOX, especially when she’s a big part of their only hit comedy in recent years? Or perhaps it’s another point on FOX’s scoreboard, that they swiped what could have been the formula for a possible success for NBC. Either way, the chemistry between Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina will keep the New Girl viewers around, after they delight in watching Jess and Nick’s flirtations.
What’s the secret formula? It’s not putting the two comedies you’re going to let die this season on a Friday night as a lead-in to one of your more successful dramas from last season, that’s for sure. Whitney and Community to lead-in Grimm? Really NBC — do you want Grimm to die too?
Back to the secret formula: pay attention to what is working, and expand on that, add to it and break out of your former successes. If The Office is dying a slow death, it’s time to move on. FOX stopped relying on their House formula, and the focus on the expansion of their successful comedies is a smart move that will pay off.