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The Sitcom Is Back And The Results Aren’t Pretty

Last fall, Angela Bromstad the President of Primetime Entertainment at NBC released a statement following the network’s decision to give several new series full season pickup orders:

We are pleased with the quality of The Event, Law & Order: Los Angeles and Outsourced, and feel they are an important part of helping to re-build our schedule and our studio pipeline. We believe in these new series and the creative auspices behind them.

So much for all the goodwill. All of the above mentioned shows have since been cancelled. Although it struck out this season with the controversial and ratings challenged, Outsourced, the network is getting right back into the old fashioned sitcom business with two high profile shows that are set to debut this fall. NBC will roll the dice with Whitney starring comedian Whitney Cummings and Are you there Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea based on E! chat show host Chelsea Handler‘s best selling books and starring the popular comedian herself in the role of a pregnant neighbor lady.

Once left for dead, sitcoms are big business again, largely thanks to producer Chuck Lorre. The Lorre produced Big Bang Theory has been a huge success story for CBS and his other show Two and a Half Men is so profitable that, despite the very public meltdown and exit of its star, Charlie Sheen, the network has gone to the extraordinary lengths of hiring Ashton Kutcher to replace him just to keep the profit machine going. NBC has followed suit with its own lineup of three camera situation comedies.

While there is something to be embraced about filling the schedule with more scripted programming and less reality TV, NBC’s new offerings look far from promising. The network has been promoting both Whitney and Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea via Twitter and by circulating clips online. If YouTube comments are any indication, both shows could be canceled faster than you can say The Return of Jezebel James. Referring to the Whitney preview, YouTube user sunny1000o writes:

God I didn’t laugh once, she’s a great comedian but this show looks terrible, everything was forced.

In the comments section for the preview for Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea which stars Laura Prepon (That 70s Show) user legallyinsane456 states things a little less subtly:

Hope they reshoot this shit and add some spice up to it.

Despite the naysayers, it’s highly unlikely either show could be any worse than The Paul Reiser Show.

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