2004-05 Sitcom Scorecard -- A Year of TV Changes Leaves CBS in Front, A Downward Trend For Sitcoms

Written Desperate For Laughs by Bridger Cunningham

Check out the overall ranks vs. the sitcom ranks, and find only two sitcoms which cracked into the top 10.  Sigh.  Ratings changed, as CBS reclaimed 1st Place after a 3-year absence.  Due to the popularity of Desperate Housewives, Lost and Grey's Anatomy, ABC surged to 2nd Place from 4th, and NBC crumbled to 3rd Place.  Irony would have it that FOX returned to 4th Place, despite the nuclear ratings of 2 American Idol showings.  Good graces would return later in the decade as it would meet 1st and 2nd Place for the first time.  UPN and CW's fortunes continued to decline, spelling changes coming ahead.

What a sad decade the 2000's was for sitcoms.  CBS claimed the trophy by a landslide with Mondays intact, though their ratings paled compared to the reality TV and Housewife craze.  An ailing NBC still claimed 2nd place as Scrubs and Will and Grace held strong, and The Office made a modest debut as NBC's next sitcom staple.  Beyond this, sitcom life was grim as the network only delivered 6 entries this season.  FOX followed in 3rd with previous afterthought Family Guy making a triumphant return after unceremoniously being dumped in 2003.  The Simpsons also held steady against continual erosion, whilst the rest of the lineup aged or declined.

Had ABC been able to claim Desperate Housewives as a sitcom, their comedy ratings would have pushed past NBC.  However, the network's laughers were in trouble as modestly-rated According to Jim was their show pony.  Beyond that, the Friday ratings were anemic, and new pilots failed to catalyze interest.  Few hits emerged on abysmal CW and UPN with previous winners performing well for network standards.

Source -- http://www.angelfire.com/tv/JustTV/0405tvreview/season0405finaladultstotals.html

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