Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
It’s still a single-camera comedy world in broadcast network primetime. Only two new four-camera comedies are premiering this fall. But the exec producer of one of them, Kevin Abbott, is determined to keep the fire burning for the form, as he maintained during a TCA panel this afternoon for ABC‘s new Friday night comedy Malibu Country. The show stars Reba (just Reba these days) as a country star who moves to Malibu from Nashville, with Lily Tomlin costarring. When it was suggested that Malibu Country should be given greater cache on the network schedule as an old-fashioned throwback comedy, Abbott deadpanned, “Let’s see how this Modern Family thing plays out, maybe we get Wednesday night at 9.” Actually, Abbott said he was pretty happy being paired on Friday nights at 8:30 with fellow four-camera comedy Last Man Standing, which he called “a really good decision.” But he also emphasized how four-camera has gotten a bad knock. “I think that it’s never about how many cameras you have shooting it, it’s about the people doing it, it’s about the writers, it’s about the actors, it’s about the director,” he said. And if you do a good show people will watch it… I love four-camera because I get to go out there on show night and watch the audience react, I can maybe change a few lines to make it better. And I think that has great value.”