When it comes to comedies, CBS is king as the No. 1 network among the "big four" with multi-camera comedy juggernauts "The Big Bang Theory," "Mike & Molly," "Two and a Half Men," and "2 Broke Girls." The eye network is currently trying to expand its comedy empire into the single-camera comedy business.
In recent years, CBS failed to find an audience with less than great single-camera comedy attempts -- such as "Worst Week," a 2009 British adaptation starring Kyle Bornheimer and Erinn Hayes. The consensus among critics and viewers is that CBS's current network model does not appeal to single-camera comedies, specifically because of the network's popular and dominating multi-camera comedy block. Scheduling a single-camera comedy between dramas or a reality series has proven problematic, as well. CBS is hoping to successfully combine multi-camera and single-camera comedies during the 2013-14 season, when it debuts the Robin Williams laugher "The Crazy Ones."
"The Crazy Ones" stars Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as a father-daughter duo of Chicago advertising executives. Like most Robin Williams comedies, his character's persona is larger than life. Simon Roberts (Williams) is described as an unpredictable but brilliant leader, while Sydney Roberts (Gellar) is the more reasonable of the two. These two, although a little crazy and a lot different, are able to find new and unusual ways to keep their advertising agency, Roberts & Roberts, afloat. "The Crazy Ones" will mark the return of Robin Williams to series television in a leading role since the ABC comedy "Mork & Mindy" was canceled in 1982.
Robin Williams's return to TV has generated positive buzz for the actor and network ever since he signed onto the David E. Kelley-penned comedy. David E. Kelley -- creator/writer of the beloved "Boston Legal" and "Ally McBeal"-- struck a deal with CBS in 2012 to bring the new workplace comedy to the network. Kelley launched his career and garnered his first Best Dramatic Series Emmy win with the '92 CBS drama "Picket Fences." Bringing both Robin Williams and David E. Kelley to the network to launch the new multi-cam/single-cam night might be the perfect recipe for a big hit.
Before finding multi-camera comedy success, CBS was known for airing the iconic single-camera comedies "Gilligan's Island," "The Beverly Hillbillies," and "The Andy Griffith Show." "Gilligan's Island" aired from 1964-67 with significant ratings until the show was rescheduled to an earlier time due to pressure from then CBS network president, William S. Paley, and various affiliates. The scheduling shift led to a loss of viewers and, ultimately, the cancellation of the show. "The Beverly Hillbillies" -- which originally aired from 1962-71 -- met its fate when CBS was pressured by advertisers to cancel all of its rural-themed programming to make way for new, fresh programming with an urban feel.
The running theme behind the cancellation of popular situation comedies at CBS in the past was pressure from executives and advertisers. Is CBS having a hard time getting back in the single-cam game because of the arguably ill-advised decisions the network has made over the years? Will Robin Williams's new comedy give the network's predictable scheduling and programming a much-needed boost? With 50 awards and countless nominations under his belt, it's safe to say Robin Williams knows a thing or two about the biz. Acquiring the Oscar-winning Robin Williams -- who has avoided starring in a TV show for 30 years -- is a positive sign that CBS has a good chance at breaking new ground with "The Crazy Ones," especially with David E. Kelley at the helm.
"The Crazy Ones" stars Robin Willliams as Simon Roberts, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Sydney Roberts, James Wolk as Zach Cropper, Hamish Linklater as Andrew, and Amanda Setton as Lauren Slotsky. It will air Thursday nights during the 2013-14 season at 9 PM on CBS.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Robin Williams
- Sarah Michelle Gellar