It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is currently airing its 10th season on the air, and has already been renewed for another two seasons following this year. It’s been FX’s most popular comedy by a longshot for a long time, which means it’s easy to forget that originally It’s Always Sunny was a series that was not getting much notice on the cable network. That is, until Danny DeVito stepped in.
Way back in 2006, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was a small comedy on a cable network that had just started to push into original programming a few years before with The Shield and Rescue Me. Unfortunately, during its first season, It’s Always Sunny wasn’t bringing in the same level of success. Despite low ratings, FX President John Landgraf loved the show, but he felt the comedy needed to bring in a big name in order to stay on the air.
[John Landgraf] called me in for a meeting and was like, 'Hey, uh no one's watching the show, but we love it, we want to keep it on, but we don't have any money for marketing, and we need to add somebody with some panache that we can hopefully parlay into some public relations story, just so we can get people talking.
In order to get to Season 2, the network wanted to bring in Danny DeVito, but co-creators Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney recently revealed to the Nerdist that there was some resistance from the team. They felt “forced” into adding DeVito, not because they personally had a problem with the actor, but because they were “reticent” to anyone else joining the show.
It's not that we were reticent to the idea of adding Danny to the show. It's that we were reticent to add a name to the show. You know, because we kind-of liked that we were no-names and it was this weird, small thing, you know.
Obviously, it all worked out. DeVito was added to the series starting in Season 2, and the show began to pick up from there. Eventually, HULU jumped onboard to air the series and then Netflix also picked up the program, leading to It’s Always Sunny becoming a cable comedy winner. Now, the series will certainly be back for Season 11 and 12 and should go on for as long as the team continues to want to make episodes. If they are still coming up with ideas like having a beer-chugging competition on a cross-country flight or Charlie crushing at beating the health inspection without the rest of the team noticing, I won’t mind in the least.
You can catch new episodes of the FXX comedy on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.