At long last, NBC is admitting the truth: it doesn’t know how to make funny sitcoms anymore. So it’s launching NBC Comedy Playground, and inviting comedy writers to pitch their series projects and bypass the usual drawn-out pilot season process. As I wrote at Quartz,
NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke called the move a direct result of “what’s happening on the Internet and what’s happening at the network.”
Or more accurately, what’s not happening at the network, which hasn’t had a hit sitcom since The Office, which debuted in 2005. That show averaged 9 million viewers in its heyday; now most NBC sitcoms, like Parks & Recreation and Community, are lucky if they pull in half that audience.
At least NBC is admitting that its current development system is broken. And if that prevents another monkey sitcom from making it to air, then we’ll all be winners.