Next week, ABC will announce which shows it's renewing for another season, and it's pretty unlikely that Cougar Town will be among those named. Despite the show's passionate fan base and critical acclaim — not to mention its stars' repeated insistence that the show has nothing to do with the alienating title — the Courteney Cox–led sitcom about a cul-de-sac of quirky, wine-loving friends never became a mainstream success. But Deadline has reported that, should ABC cancel Cougar Town, TBS may pick it up for two more 15-episode seasons, no doubt learning from the success that TNT had in picking up the crime drama Southland after NBC canceled it, in 2009. TV writers agree that this move is "a match made in comedy heaven." Here are five reasons why:
1. The show has passionate fans...
Cougar Town creator Bill Lawrence, who is also a producer, wore the same hats for nine seasons on Scrubs, says The TV Addict. During its run, Scrubs shifted time slots numerous times and even switched networks from NBC to ABC. Throughout it all — much like with Cougar Town — his devotees have proved that "where Bill Lawrence goes, his legions of loyal viewers will follow."
2. ...and passionate stars
It's not just fans who are actively lobbying to keep the show on the air, says Damon Houx at Screen Crave. The creators and actors are so enthusiastic about their work that, when they were frustrated by ABC's lack of promotion of season three, they launched their own guerrilla advertising campaign and hosted screening parties. TBS could benefit from that kind of engagement.
3. TBS needs a celebrity
TBS has been pushing to enhance its slate of original programming for years now, but most of its projects have gone under the radar because there have been no name-brand actors involved, says The TV Addict. Aside from Tyler Perry, who's behind the series House of Payne and Meet the Browns, it's impossible to think of a single major celebrity associated with a TBS sitcom. Landing Courteney Cox not only gives the network some much-needed star power, but "it also sends a loud and clear message to Hollywood's creative community that TBS is open for business."
4. Cougar Town is better suited for cable
While Cougar Town received decidedly underwhelming ratings on ABC, says Margaret Lyons at New York, the show's numbers would be perfectly respectable by cable standards. Tonally, the show is a better fit on TBS, too. "Its gentle pacing and tendency toward whimsy have never quite fit in at ABC."
5. The show also makes economical sense for TBS
Not only would picking up Cougar Town give TBS more original programming, says Rick Porter at Zap2it, it would also push the show to 91 total episodes over its run — "enough for the studio to sell in syndication." Once a show hits syndication, it becomes a huge moneymaker for all parties involved. Plus, Cougar Town operates on a shoe-string budget, making it the "ideal fit for a cost-conscious cable world," says The TV Addict. TBS spends a monstrous $1.5 million to air its highly rated repeats of The Big Bang Theory. A cheap, but still popular, production like Cougar Town could help offset those costs.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to deep fry a turkey
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
- How to stop Black Thursday — and still score that big screen
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
Subscribe to the Week