Comedy makes a comeback America, at least

Comedy has made a comeback on American TV, with eight half-hour sitcoms in the top 20 shows last week, the first of the new autumn season.

And only one reality show made the chart of the shows most popular with the key 18-45 age group: Dancing With The Stars.

In that demographic, Family Guy was the best-rated comedy and fourth of all shows, behind an NFL football match, House and Grey's Anatomy. Spin-off The Cleveland Show, was only just behind it in the ratings.

Other comedies in the top 20 were, in order, Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, Cougar Town (starring Courteney Cox as a newly single 40-year-old mother with a 17-year old son), The Simpsons, new mockumentary Modern Family and The Office.

Commentators believe that the revival of the sitcom – just a couple of years after the genre was pronounced dead – is down to viewers seeking light relief in a recession.

And Samie Falvey, senior vice president of comedy at ABC, believes that there is also more interest in people watching the ordinary lives that family and workplace sitcoms tend to focus on. She said that in the boom, people attaining wealth was ‘in the zeitgeist’ and ordinary people didn't seem all that interesting. ‘[But] with all that is going on in the world, ordinary is beginning to feel pretty good.’

The situation is very different in the UK, In fact, in the week ending September 20, only two of the top 100 top-rated shows were comedies: the redubbed natural history show Walk On The Wild Side down at No 88 and Mock The Week at No 100.

Published: 30 Sep 2009

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