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This day in TV news

Alright, folks. So, since Lex is working on something special, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on recent TV developments.

As you may know, ABC has launched last week a new block of comedies, with really strong ratings and favorable reviews. At least, for the 2 that aired last week, and the ones ABC put the most marketing moolah on: “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town”, with Courteney Cox. But, as the remaining 2 premiere tonight, critics are less than favorable.

“Hank” and “The Middle” both star the leads of FOX cancelled sitcom of 2007-2008, “Back To You”: Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton. Though it seems that “The Middle” is a carefully subtle rehash of “Malcolm in The Middle”, though with more Janitor, critics have it in for “Hank”, starring Grammer as a fired CEO who tries to bounce back.

As it stands, the show may very well suck, though it can still improve from the pilot, if the audience gives it some slack (and don’t tune out). But one baffling review came from Tim Goodman, from SF Gate:

What makes no sense about “Hank” – beyond the fact that it even exists – is that the sitcom is an old-school, multicamera affair with that intrusive laugh track. The three sitcoms that follow it are all single-camera comedies with no laugh track. “Hank” sticks out – and not in a good way.

OK, first of all, who put into the critics’ brain this moronic idea that multicamera sitcoms are “old-school”? Almost all of CBS comedy block are multicamera, and they are among the most-watched shows on network television. Moreover, with “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory”, CBS makes the impossible weekly: attracting younger viewers every Monday. Now, Becky, 15, from Illinois, will rather watch Ted, Barney and Robin than Heroes season 4. And laugh track never was the matter. The matter should be whether the show is funny or not. If “Hank” has to stick out like a sore thumb out of ABC’s comedy block, it will be because it’s just not funny. Not because a so-called 1987 way of shooting a sitcom.

In other comedy news, BBC2 and Showtime announced a new partnership to produce a 6-episode series called “Episodes”. Apparently, it revolves around a couple of Brits whose comedy creation gets adapted for the American market. Behind it are David Crane (one of the creators of “Friends” and “The Class”) and one of the “Mad About You” producers. And it’s starring….Matt LeBlanc. Yup, Joey from “Friends” in a dumbed-down version of himself.

OK. There’s so much to process from this news, where do I get started.

1) So, what’s the idea for Showtime? Get its own version of “Entourage” or its own version of “Extras”? Hollywood satire can be plain boring. Or bland, as can attest the 6 seasons already produced of “Entourage”. (Just a personal opinion here.)

2)Out of all the “Friends”, you pass on Matthew “Motherfucking” Perry but settle for Matt LeBlanc? What is wrong with you?

3) In a weird case of art-imitating-life, no less than three UK sitcoms were adapted into American pilots in the past season: “The IT Crowd”, for NBC, with David Guarascio and Moses Port from “Aliens In America”…uh…fame?; “Absolutely Fabulous”, and “Spaced”, both for FOX. The latter two were welcomed with nails-on-chalkboard reactions from the original fans.

4)Will the show revolve around adapting a British settling into an American joke, with very different writing and boundaries? And if so, how is it a great idea?

5)Earlier this year, Showtime passed on ALL of its pilots in contention. And they decide to restart their development slate with THIS?!?

That’s all for today.

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