NBC Wants To Bring Back Live Sitcoms

While some series pay respects to television’s yesteryear by simply adapting old shows, NBC’s newest project aims to revive the way we TV used to be approached: live broadcasts. The network has put into development the multi-camera comedy Hospitality with Chris Moynihan (Man Up), Sean Hayes (Sean Saves the World) and Todd Milliner, all of whom will executive produce. Live from New York, it’s…Hospitality.

According to Deadline, the series would center on a hotel in the middle of Manhattan, and the stories would all revolve around the staff. Can we all take a leap and assume that these characters are all super quirky and that the hotel will have a signature wacky set of guests? I’m not even saying that pejoratively. I absolutely love series like Newhart and Fawlty Towers, and don’t get me started on The Shining. Plus, I used to work in a hotel so that subject matter is fine with me.

But it’s not the setting that makes this project exciting, it’s the live aspect. Not only would the show’s weekly episodes be put out that way, but each commercial break would feature live ads. Honestly, that sounds almost as intriguing as the show itself, since it’s such a rarity these days. Back in TV’s earliest years, it was much more commonplace, which meant you were only seeing one or two products being put on display. I’m intrigued to see how a modern television production would handle live ads on a weekly basis. Take a peek at a 61-year-old Coca Cola commercial below.

Outside of Saturday Night Live, awards ceremonies and sporting events, live TV is more of a gimmick for series to use for sweeps weeks. Most notably to me were the episodes of 30 Rock presented this way. It allowed for jokes like the one below to happen, which is the kind of humor I hope Hospitality goes for, but I don’t expect it to.

Hayes and Milliner, who co-own the production company Hazy Mills Productions, have a handful of successful series under their belts, including the TV Land series The Soul Man and Hot in Cleveland. TV Land, incidentally, ran live commercials with their series premieres back in March. NBC saw big ratings for their live broadcast of The Sound of Music, despite the critics not being so kind. But that was an adaptation of a beloved musical, so who knows what people will think of a live sitcom.

Do you guys think live TV still has a shot of being relevant in today’s viewing world?

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.