Freaks and Geeks. Arrested Development. Party Down. Over the past 15 years, the TV landscape has seen numerous sitcoms with critical accolades and intensely loyal fans get canceled because their audiences just weren't big enough.
But if you're worried about the future of buzzy but relatively low-rated comedies like New Girl, The Mindy Project, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, rest easy: According to Vulture's Josef Adalian, networks — which are increasingly concerned with buzz over ratings — are shifting toward "small-but-good" comedies with fans they know will stick around:
At a time when even broad, old-school sitcom stabs are striking out (NBC’s Sean Saves the World, Fox’s own Dads), and in an era where there hasn't been a blockbuster sitcom success since Modern Family, networks may need to start figuring out how to survive in a world where niche appeal may be their best option: Better a small, highly devoted fan base than an indifferent audience the same size. "You can’t count on there being another Big Bang Theory," one longtime network development suit says. "You need to bring back what people are responding to, and stick with those shows." Last year, after NBC unveiled a slate of generic family comedies to replace The Office and 30 Rock, and Fox unleashed Dads, comedy snobs worried about a future without broadcast comedies they could embrace. But Fox's new philosophy, combined with NBC's January decision to stick by Parks and Recreation (and probably Community) gives reason for optimism: If ratings aren't ever going back up, then maybe doing smart, niche comedies is the best bet to keep network comedy alive.
The tortoise is still in the race after a reasonably decent showing in New Hampshire, much to fellow Floridian Marco Rubio's chagrin. But as the Republican presidential hopefuls turn their attention to South Carolina's Feb. 20 primary, Rubio's campaign is apparently pretty hopeful they can bury Jeb Bush.
"South Carolina is gonna be a bloodbath," a Rubio aide told Politico. "Jeb and his people wanted to attack Marco in New Hampshire about abortion? Let's see how that plays down there. And then there's Common Core."
On the other hand, an internal Bush memo slammed Rubio, asserting he has "demonstrated no respect for the nomination process and expects this to be a coronation." Julie Kliegman
Americans are getting fatter as airplane seats grow narrower, but a new House bill could mandate a minimum seat size to accommodate our increasing average girth.
The descriptively named Seat Egress in Air Travel Act (SEAT Act), introduced by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), would require the Federal Aviation Administration to determine minimum measurements for plane seats. In addition to issues of comfort, Cohen argues that bigger seats are safer in the event of an emergency and can help prevent deep vein thrombosis on long flights.
While seat widths have slightly shrunk over the years, new innovations tend to focus on the front-to-back space a seat takes up, and especially the padding bulk. Meanwhile, some airlines, most famously Southwest, already offer the opportunity to purchase two seats for "customers of size" who find a single chair too restrictive. Bonnie Kristian
At first glance, you might think Donald Trump would be thrilled to be played by an Oscar-nominated actor like Johnny Depp in a biopic chronicling his life — but when that biopic turns out to be the latest Funny or Die project, the results are less than flattering.
Depp stars in Funny or Die's scathingly parodic The Art of the Deal, which presents itself as a long-lost, made-for-TV adaptation of Trump's 1987 bestseller of the same name. True to the era, The Art of the Deal features plenty of '80s icons, including Christopher Lloyd, ALF, and "Danger Zone" legend Kenny Loggins, who performs the theme song. Of course, the real draw is Depp, whose rubbery, mush-mouthed take on Trump is suspiciously similar to his take on gangster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass:
If you're ready for The Art of the Deal, you can watch the whole movie (which clocks in at 50 minutes) at Funny or Die. Scott Meslow
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich's response to finding out who won the New Hampshire primary Tuesday night was spot on — and he didn't even utter a word.
TNT reporter David Aldridge managed to slip in a political question at the end of a courtside interview with Popovich by asking if he wanted to know the election results. "Yeah, who is it?" Popovich asked. "[Bernie] Sanders and [Donald] Trump," Aldridge responded.
Popovich was silent. He looked at Aldridge, shook his head in utter disbelief, and then just walked away. Watch it. Becca Stanek
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 10, 2016
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin will adapt Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird for Broadway, The New York Times reports.
"It lives a little bit differently in everybody's imagination in the way a great novel ought to, and then along I come," Sorkin said. "I'm not the equal of Harper Lee. No one is."
Sorkin was signed by producer Scott Rudin, who attained the stage adaptation rights that Lee had apparently long been reluctant to grant. The two men have worked together on films including The Social Network, Moneyball, and Steve Jobs. The play is scheduled to open in 2017.
In a sentiment the entire world is bound to echo, Sorkin's teenage daughter has already advised him "not to blow it." Julie Kliegman
Jeb Bush is heading into his next campaign stop in South Carolina with a little help from older brother George W. Bush. In what will mark George W. Bush's first-ever campaign ad for current Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, the 43rd president will begin hitting the South Carolina airwaves Wednesday in a spot targeted at conservative talk radio stations. Take a listen:
"Jeb has dealt with crises as the governor of Florida, and he did so with steadiness, and a calmness necessary in a good leader," the former president says in the ad entitled "Steady Hand." "He respects the military — he honors their families. He can make the tough decision to keep Americans safe and our country free. And in a time of crisis, he will be a steady hand."
The ad marks the start of George W. Bush's increased involvement in his brother's campaign. He is also expected to make an appearance on the campaign trail in South Carolina sometime before next week's Feb. 20 primary. Becca Stanek
Coming off of a strong second-place showing in New Hampshire's Republican primary, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Wednesday he doesn't plan on slowing down.
"We're going to go through South Carolina, ultimately to the Midwest. This is a long, long race." Kasich said on Good Morning America. "Everybody always underestimates me."
Kasich also vowed to not only unite the Republican Party, but also to get some cross-party appeal should he beat the odds and make it to the general election.
"We can attract the Democrats," he said. "We're Americans before we're Republicans and Democrats." Julie Kliegman