Few hit comedies are left for off-net pipeline
Sitcoms still make auds crack a smile in syndication even if their power and popularity is nothing as to what it was in the days of laffers like “Friends” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”So says Brian Hughes, in a just published report on the fourth quarter TV biz by ad giant Magna Global in New York. With series like “Friends” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” ending their runs in recent years, there are barely any hit comedies left to enter the off-net syndie pipeline. Most of the dramas, of which there are many, generally air in latenight or on weekends or simply sell to cable. He cites only “Two and a Half Men,” which will begin its syndicated run next fall, as one of the only significant half-hours that come to mind. A handful of decent performers — the study cites “According to Jim,” “Scrubs” and “Still Standing” — have made it to the off-net world in the past couple of seasons, but even their ratings numbers are dwindling. In spite of that fact, comedy, Hughes said, “still remains the top syndicated genre in terms of both total minutes and rating points among key demos.” Gabbers lead among the 50+ crowd, but comedy is otherwise dominant. Slim pickins but apparently still worth the effort by stations if they can land a decent one.