All-time primetime: Ricky Gervais

A Brit perspective on some American gems

The care and feeding of an Emmy contender
All-time primetime
Ricky Gervais | Ty Burrell | Sarah Silverman | Phil Rosenthal | Ben Silverman | Taylor Holland | Gregory Itzin

Everyone knows the best TV shows of all time include “The Wire,” “Larry Sanders,” “The Office,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “The Sopranos,” “Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Extras” and “The Office.”

But I’m putting together a primetime schedule here. I’m a network boss, and I’m not concerned with quality anymore. I’m chasing ratings.


8:00: “Dancing With D-listers”
9:00:“House Whores of Texas”
10:00: “America’s Got Losers”

OK, seriously now. I have, I think, chosen shows that were great and crowd-pleasing, but that was by happy coincidence. I’ve actually just chosen those shows that gave me the most pleasure, both at the time and still. They’re not all cool and audacious like “Damages” or “Dexter.” They’re not all ground-breaking like “The Wire” or “The Sopranos.” But they are shows that first convinced me that America had the best TV industry in the world and also that great shows could be popular and timeless.

8:00 :
“The Waltons”
Hope. Family. Integrity. This made me want to be a writer and move to the land of opportunity.

This show made me want to move to New York. Beautiful characters you’d love to live near.

This show made me want to write a sitcom, and then move to New York. Possibly the greatest sitcom of all time.

“Police Squad”
A forgotten gem. No one ever lists this for some reason, but everyone who saw it loves it.

“South Park”
Not exactly family viewing, but it’s on the list for good reason. The Scientology episode is the bravest piece of comedy I have ever seen.

Ricky Gervais has been nommed for 15 Emmy awards, winning twice, including lead comedy actor in 2007 for “Extras.”

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