2002-03 Sitcom Scorecard -- Reality TV Continues to Cull The Sitcoms Into Remote Nielsen Ranges

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Written Grateful Sitcoms Still Exist In 2017 by Bridger Cunningham

"The Big Four" faced crossroads this season, as each pair faced a narrow fight for ranks.  NBC took another victory in 1st, yet CBS lashed at their heels a mere .03 ratings points in average of defeat.  Down below, perennial 4th Place joke left egg on ABC's face by narrowly besting them by .01, thanks to latest Reality TV sensation American Idol.  It served ABC right, as they delivered (at this time) one of the most tenuous seasons to date.  Down below, WB managed to overthrow UPN, but is that a victory?  Both networks combined could not match 4th Place ABC (or is that FOX) in the race.  Sadly, this season frowned on sitcoms, as the count dropped from 59 to 49.  Sabrina, The Teenage Witch's exit after 7-years ironically fit the theme of culling the sitcom herd this year.

This season, Friends was down 10% in ratings.  Rather devastating.  But look at their neighbors.  Will and Grace took 12th place, and Scrubs managed to place at a lackluster 14th after being moved to NBC's prime hotbed for launching sitcoms.  2002 spelled a Silent Spring for sitcoms, as only 5 placed in the top 20, compared to seasons past which boasted 14.

Must See TV endured assaults from an increasingly-strong CBS' reality/procedural platform.  CBS Mondays played strong, keeping their previous season' retention rates on-par.  ABC sitcoms managed to best FOX, yet that was where the buck stopped on bargains.  Drew Carey's ratings were flopped to the floor like a bad hairdo when Christa Miller defected, landing so low CW was cracking jokes.  FOX sitcoms maintained Sundays neatly, but they too had the buzz of the clippers shaving shows left and right.  Malcolm in the Middle, King of the Hill and Bernie Mac felt the buzz, while 7pm cuckold Futurama ended after 5 seasons of valiantly poor scheduling.  Grounded For Life was slapped with a cancellation after 3 episodes, yet WB wisely snapped the show down to their walkout basement.

Speaking of walkout, only Sabrina, The Teenage Witch defected from WB's lineup sans forgettable freshman pilots.  The 2000's reflected a devastating delivery for a tried and true television form which delivered over six decades of syndication.  And for that, be grateful we still have sitcoms in 2017, despite so many talentless loads from reality TV hogging the spotlight.

Source -- https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.arts.tv/7oLAZAvK6wY

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