Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
After today’s TCA panel on Fox’s new multi-camera comedy I Hate My Teenage Daughter, about two high school nerd-girls who grew up to be the mothers of the kind of popular “mean girls” that they envied and hated in high school, the show’s executive producers, Sherry Bilsing-Graham and Ellen Kreamer, talked with me about how their multi-camera comedy might fit in at Fox, which has struggled to successfully launch a multi-camera sitcom. The show stars Katie Finneran and My Name Is Earl castmember Jaime Pressly as the moms and Australian Aisha Dee and Kristi Lauren as the snotty teenagers. “I think audiences really appreciate multi-camera comedy — you watch the big success of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory and you feel good when you watch it — there’s something very comforting about it, I can’t explain why,” said Kreamer. It [harkens back to] The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy — the history. It’s a little bit slower-paced than some of the single-camera comedies, with the jump cuts and stuff. Sherry and I come from Friends, and we love that.”
Fox will stick to a mostly traditional fall rollout, with the bulk of its series launching during the official premiere week of Sept. 19, including a two-night, four-hour premiere of The X Factor on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22 that is consistent with the way Fox’s American Idol debuts. One surprise: The two-hour premiere of Terra Nova will not air Sept. 19, using the promotional platform of the Primetime Emmy Awards that air on Fox the night before, but a week later, on Sept. 26. Fox also has set November premiere dates for I Hate My Teenage Daughter and Bones, which will follow X Factor once it segues from two-night, two-hour episodes to its regular pattern. Here is Fox’s fall premiere schedule:
After getting to the brink of extinction on ABC, NBC and Fox last year, multicamera comedies staged a comeback this upfront season. While the genre has been alive and well on CBS, the number of multicamera comedies on the other broadcast networks had steadily declined in the past few years to three during the 2009-10 season — the short-lived ABC’s Hank, Fox’s Brothers and NBC’s 100 Questions, which didn’t even air in-season — then to only one this season, ABC’s Better with You, which also has been canceled. But sitcoms rebounded this year, with ABC, Fox and NBC ordering a total of five multicamera comedies: NBC’s Whitney and Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea, ABC’s Last Man Standing and Work It and Fox’s I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Three of them, Last Men Standing, Whitney and I Hate My Teenage Daughter, are on the fall schedule in key slots — Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing is launching a new comedy block for ABC on Tuesday, while Whitney and Teenage Daughter landed their networks’ cushiest time periods: after The Office and The X Factor, respectively.
How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC’s 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC’s The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side. One of the two new Fox dramas, Alcatraz, has a female lead, Sarah Jones, and was co-written by a female writer, Liz Sarnoff. Of the two NBC drama pickups, one is the female-centered Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello and written by Alexandra Cunningham and the other the female-skewing Smash, which has two leads, one played by Debra Messing. And the two locks at ABC are all about ladies (though penned by male writers), Charlie’s Angels and Good Christian Bitches.
The four newly picked up half-hour series will probably be joined by 3-4 more for a complete domination of the freshman comedy class of 2011 the way ensemble relationship comedies were all the craze last year. What’s more, it looks like as many as three new comedy series are two-female lead shows.
3RD UPDATE: Fox Orders ‘Finder’, ‘Alcatraz’, ‘Daughter’ & ‘New Girl’ To Series, ‘Council’, ‘Locke’, ‘Bellevue’, ‘Outnumbered’ & ‘Iceland’ Dead; ‘Exit’, ‘Album’ & ‘Common’ Still In Play
UPDATE 9 PM: A Locke & Key limited series/miniseries was a stretch, and it seems that it is not happening. The show is now heading to the death pile. And yes, comedy Outnumbered is dead too. Surprisingly, multi-family comedy Little In Common starring Rob Corddry and Kevin Hart, which had …