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C21 DIGITAL SCREENINGS

Theme Festival - Sitcoms

About this Festival

Sitcoms have been one of the most effective replacement genres for channels looking to refresh schedules as new programming fails to arrive. We take a look at what’s on offer from the world’s leading suppliers.

Programming Profile

Funny business

29-06-2020
Comedy is a serious business when you consider how lucrative a hit sitcom can be. Nico Franks explores how to make a sitcom work and what challenges the genre faces.  

Without question, a hit sitcom is television’s golden goose. And the pandemic has only strengthened the position of the much-loved sitcom, with broadcasters using it as a balm to comfort their stressed-out viewers at a time of crisis.

 

But for every show like Friends or Seinfeld that’s able to command multimillion-dollar fees from an SVoD platform for episodes that everyone has seen a gazillion times already, there are countless turkeys.

 

Stath Lets Flats
Stath Lets Flats

Ash Atalla, who has something of a Midas touch when it comes to sitcoms, having brought shows such as The Office, The IT Crowd, People Just Do Nothing and, most recently, Bafta-nominated Stath Lets Flats to screen, sums up the struggle the genre faces.

 

“People will recommend The Wire and say it gets going around episode seven. Yet people will watch the first couple of minutes of a comedy and say they hated it. That’s just how it is,” says Atalla, MD of Roughcut TV.

 

Nevertheless, there’s a received wisdom emerging in TV that the world is in need of a laugh, which could herald a shift away from the dark high-end dramas that have defined the past decade towards all together funnier fare.
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