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Mom and Last Man Standing may spell the end of an era for long-running sitcoms

  • Mom wrapped up eight seasons and 170 episodes on CBS Thursday night. Last Man Standing ends its nine-season two-network 194-episode run on Fox on May 20. It doesn't seem likely that a new network sitcom premiering this year could ever reach those many episodes, says Michael Schneider. "Even as the broadcast networks prepare to order a crop of new series and announce their fall schedules next week, the idea that a new sitcom might make it to the once-vaunted threshold of 100 episodes — let alone more than that — seems antiquated," says Schneider. "For one thing, the big-bucks syndication marketplace of yore is mostly gone, making that four-season, 100-episode mark less necessary to reach. (Warner Bros. TV’s Young Sheldon was recently sold into syndication with 83 episodes, for example.) And in this age of primetime erosion and viewer migration to the streaming world, season orders are short — usually 10 episodes, a far cry from the once-common 22- or 24-episode count — and many comedies are wrapping up within a few years of launch. Or they take long hiatuses, keeping their episodic tally to a minimum." Network sitcoms like Black-ish, reaching 160 episodes at the end of this season, and The Goldbergs, which finishes this season at Episode 185, are still going strong. And so is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has produced 154 episodes over 14 seasons. Meanwhile, Frasier is coming back for a Paramount+ revival after 264 episodes on NBC. Paramount Network TV president Garry Hart, who oversaw Frasier's original run, says that “historically TV has always had cycles, and funny never goes out of favor.” He adds: “I have my fingers crossed for a nice long run with chapter three of Frasier Crane.”

    TOPICS: Mom, CBS, FOX, Frasier, Last Man Standing