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NBC Sells Out With A Dane Cook Sitcom Shocker (Read Between The Lines)

By Rob Payne | Industry | September 29, 2011 |

By Rob Payne | Industry | September 29, 2011 |

The woes of the once mighty National Broadcasting Corporation are well documented, if only because they recur at astonishing frequency and with such rapidly descending trajectories (:cough:”The Paul Reiser Show”:cough:). At this point, we’re really just lucky that they haven’t forced Tina Fey to co-star with Sarah Palin in an updated, MILFy take on “The Patty Duke Show.” Of course, that doesn’t make Deadline’s report that the network has signed a development deal with successful stand-up comedian, failed Hollywood comedic leading man Dane Cook any less depressing.

While stealing other comedians’ material and loudly lowering himself to the common denominator, Cook has amassed a popularity wide enough to sell out Madison Square Garden but not passionate enough to go see his attempts at romantic comedies. It’s a fickle audience, the bros. But that is likely the sweet spot for an audience share that NBC would consider a strong hit, especially if filmed-before-a-live-studio-audience-yet-still-uses-canned-laughter “Whitney” fails like it ought and the new Sarah Silverman project translates less successfully than the Comedy Central version. Since Dane Cook’s fans have followed him to two HBO comedy specials and one comedy tour reality show, it’s feasible they’d watch him on a non-Friday week night. If I were a betting man outside the amateur poker table, I would say this is the first step in the post-season three cancellation of our beloved “Community.”

Call it hunch, but as disappointed as the whole thing sounds, I really wouldn’t call it that shocking. Sitcoms built around popular stand-up comics worked in the network’s past, surely it can work again (read as only somewhat sarcastic). And even if he doesn’t displace Dan Harmon’s masterpiece, a Dane Cook sitcom will still probably bea hit that lasts for at least six seasons (and a movie). At least, it’s not surprising if NBC is counting on that. Poking fun at himself earlier this year on “Louie” was certainly a way to help recoup his credibility with fans of comedy beyond himself and Larry the Cable Guy, but that still doesn’t make him talented, creative, or funny. As far as I’m concerned, a Dane Cook sitcom just makes me wish the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse would happen already.

Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, co-hosts the podcast We’re Not Fanboys, and tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar where he sells out his own credibility on a daily basis.

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