Can TV Land Compete With the Classics?

TV Land Prime is moving toward scripted shows with a two pilot sitcom order.  This is a bold move for the network.  Up until now their original series line-up has been one reality show after the next.  Not only will the network have to dig deeper into their pockets to produce original sitcoms, they’ll also be up against their current programming.  The majority of their audience has been tuning in to both laugh and reminisce with shows that debuted years ago.  Classics like The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy, The Bill Cosby Show, M*A*S*H, and soon they’ll add Everybody Loves Raymond.  They’re classics for a reason and viewers have continued to watch them over many decades;  they’re well written, well acted, well directed and they make us laugh time and time again.

I think TV Land realizes what a tall order it is to create two new sitcoms and put them up against their slate of time tested classics.  That’s  probably why the two pilots they chose Hot in Cleveland and  Retired at 35 will be written and produced by sitcom veterans.  (Both pilots are cast contingent.)

Hot in Cleveland revolves around three fabulous, eccentric, LA women of a certain age. They’re best friends whose lives are changed forever when their plane unexpectedly lands in Cleveland and they soon rediscover themselves in this new “promised land”. Written by Suzanne Martin (“Frasier,” “Ellen”) and produced by Sean Hayes’ (“Will & Grace”).

Retired at 35 follows a successful businessman who decides to leave the rat race of New York City behind and move into his parents’ Florida retirement home to reconnect with them, reevaluate his life and live the dream of retirement that so many are working towards. Written by Chris Case (“Reba,” “Spin City”)  and Michael Hanel and Mindy Schultheis (“Rita Rocks,” “Reba,” “Titus”) are executive producers.

Larry Jones, President of TV Land told Daily Variety, “It’s a natural progression for us, there’s not that many (original) shows being made for the audience that comes to us for our classic sitcoms. It’s a format that our viewers are very comfortable with.”

Well Larry, I for one will be watching and hoping you fill the void. Who knows, perhaps they’ll succeed in re-defining themselves the way AMC did with Mad Men and USA has done with Burn Notice.