The relative ratings success of sitcoms (vs. dramas) in broadcast primetime have led many to speculate that we’ll see a number of added sitcom hours in the Fall 2012 schedule.

Anytime a network changes a timeslot between genres (sitcom/drama/reality/news) it’s noteworthy, but it’s really news when several networks do it in the same season, which is what may happen next Fall.

The rundown:

ABC: Anchored by Modern Family, ABC Wednesday’s are humming along, and Last Man Standing didn’t tank, like every other new show they’ve put on Tuesdays recently. But a two hour block on Tuesday isn’t possible without pushing back the DWTS results time. Thursday 8pm is open, but likely lethal to new sitcoms. Difficult scheduling, but still conceivably possible.

CBS: Five of their top six rated shows are sitcoms. Rob, their seventh highest rated show will have no place on their schedule unless they expand their sitcom time (or premiere no new sitcoms, which is vanishingly unlikely). But expanding sitcom time means canceling a 4th drama (or some weird drama schedule ju-jitzu), which is a big step for the syndication factory. On the other hand, their current ratings say “kill another drama to make the sitcom space”.

CW: They famously got out of the sitcom business several years ago, but TV media chatter has them considering reversing that decision. But to the best of my knowledge they have no sitcoms piloted, so no chance for new sitcom time next season.

Fox: New Girl is the sole (pending Touch) bright spot among new Fox scripted shows this season. And Raising Hope has done well enough that I don’t think Fox will want to drop it simply because they don’t have the schedule space. Not as easy to schedule as the 22 hour networks, but still likely.

NBC: Among the smoking ruins littering NBC’s schedule, the sitcoms are smoking a bit less than the dramas, making more of them likely to survive for another season. And NBC will have so many holes in their schedule to fill once again, that schedule time is not an issue. But, considering all the changes that are likely to take place, there may not be the bandwidth to launch all those new sitcoms.

I’ll make a relatively wild guess of 2 added broadcast primetime sitcom hours for next Fall.

What’s your guess?

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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