Why NBC Can’t Catch a Comedy Break

Apparently not.

Apparently not.

So long, Sean Hayes! Goodbye, Michael J. Fox! According to Variety, NBC will be yanking both Sean Saves the World and The Michael J. Fox Show off the air after the Olympics. Though a rep from the network said that Fox isn’t canceled (they’re looking to schedule it after April 3rd), it’s not looking good for NBC’s “broad comedy” strategy. Did our brief affair with 90s nostalgia finally, mercifully end? Wha happened?

If this turns out to be true, Ben Silverman must be laughing his ass off right now. Say what you will (and there’s a lot to say) about the former network wunderkind and gnarly broseph, the guy knew how to take risks. Both Sean and Michael only drew about 3 million viewers each in recent weeks, earning them under a 1 rating. It’s been nothing short of disastrous, despite being the stronghold of Emmy-winning Parks and Recreation. The problem is that we don’t need more Hollywood Game Nights. Hedging your bets on a block of television that was created for pushing the envelope isn’t going to work.

And yes, we recognize that it’s a tough position for NBC to be in, because even when they do give more niche comedies a shot, and then another, and then another (see: Community), and Nielsen’s telling them it’s not paying off, the logic should hold that the country wants toothless entertainment. How else do you explain that The Big Bang Theory beat Community by 364 percent last week?

Look, NBC is about to have this big late-night shakeup–Leno’s last night is tonight!– and things are going to be scary for awhile. Maybe the solution isn’t to keep trying to fill the Thursday Night Comedy spot, but just scrap that marketing idea altogether…at least until there are some shows worth building an evening around. And no, we’re not talking about About a Boy.