Did they break the comedy series mold after Modern Family? It seems that way as only one new family comedy, Fox’s Raising Hope made it to the schedule for next season. It’s all about relationships and couples this year and, by the end of upfronts, many of them start to blend together. The networks’ marketing people have their work cut out for them trying to get viewers to distinguish one new relationship comedy from another. NBC has Perfect Couples and Friends with Benefits, while ABC has Better Together and Happy Endings – all ensemble comedies about couples. Additionally, CBS has Mike & Molly, about an overweight couple and their friends, and Fox has Running Wilde, about an unlikely couple: a spoiled rich man and a passionate do-gooder. CBS’ $#! My Dad Says seems so dominated by the larger-than-life character played by William Shatner that the family element is deep in the background. Similarly, the family aspect does not appear to be central to NBC’s Paul Reiser Show, which too centers squarely on Reiser and whose trailer focused more on his career and on the interactions with his male buddies than on his home life.
Modern Family is a great series that is credited with reinvigorating the half-hour comedy genre. But is its success too intimidating for networks to try to launch other family comedies that would inevitably be compared to it? Or there just was something in the air this development season about relationships comedies and every network had to have a bunch of those?