Sitcom’s on a Ledge. Jump! Jump! Jump!

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Fox recently reassured fans they have no plans to cancel Arrested Development Of course their message was recently deleted from the show’s website. So, many believe the reduction of Fox’s episode order to 18 make the prospect of a third season as certain as Tobias’ heterosexuality. Entertainment Weekly published an appeal to the cable networks to save Arrested, mentioning HBO, Showtime, FX and USA, but no Comedy Central, which would also be a natural home for the show.

If Arrested did jump, I think it’d be the first of many. We’re so fractionalized as audiences, how can something be funny in the broad ways the network’s need anymore? Across all ages and demographics, but still hitting that sweet spot of 18-34. I can see drama and reality lasting on networks for a while because we can all agree that murder, romance, crime and stunts involving horse bladders hold the same interest across the board. But comedy is either dependent on A) minutiae that have been well tread by previous shows or B) worldviews of what’s funny that are not necessarily shared by a large audience. With Arrested finding humor in a momma’s boy losing his hand to a seal due to his drunkard mother’s prayers to God to find a way to not send him to fight in Iraq, it’s safe to say the show is B.

On the other hand, on cable smaller groups of equal-minded audience member congregate and you can build comedies that directly appeal to them. The Daily Show at its best draws 2.4 million people, far fewer than Arrested Development‘s average of 6.18 million. The two audiences, if it doesn’t overlap already, probably shares a similar view of the Iraq war and what can be mined for humor from it. The viewers that embrace shows like Arrested are on cable.  I’d love for it to stay on broadcast, but Arrested best prescription for a long life might be to jump.

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