After decades, NBC scraps Thursday night comedies

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NBC announces that Thursday comedies will be replaced by drama in the new year

"The Blacklist" will be the centerpiece of the new lineup

Thursday has been the home to hit NBC comedies for over three decades

CNN  — 

There was a time when Thursday night on NBC was truly “must-see TV” – and it was thanks to comedies.

The lineups changed gradually over the years, but they always brought in huge ratings and trounced the competition.

The golden age began in the 1980s with a lineup of classics including the top-rated “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties,” “Cheers” and “Night Court.” The 1990s brought the debuts of “Seinfeld” and “Friends,” which went on to become two of the decade’s top TV sitcoms.

Those days are long gone. On Friday, NBC announced a new midseason schedule completely absent of Thursday night comedies. “Parks and Recreation,” the last of the string, is set to finish its run on Tuesdays.

The new Thursday will have hit drama “The Blacklist” as its centerpiece.

The day has been on the horizon for years. After “The Office” and “30 Rock” ended and “Community” was canceled, Thursday comedies began to dwindle.

Shawn Pasternak, a hardcore TV watcher who posts his musings at @ShawnCP92, said ABC and CBS have made strides on Thursdays in recent years, loosening NBC’s grip on the night.

“What was really interesting to me was what happened last season, when NBC made a concerted effort to sign NBC Must See TV Thursday alumni Sean Hayes and Michael J. Fox to very prominent sitcom deals, both of which flopped completely in the 9 p.m. hour,” he observed.

It’s also a sign of changing TV viewing habits, Diane Gordon of The Surf Report said.

“Today’s viewers watch TV in entirely different ways than they did in the 1980s and 1990s and broadcast networks are hit hardest by this change,” she said. “Many viewers, especially younger viewers, watch shows on demand via DVR and via streaming services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. This means there are almost no TV shows that are appointment TV like there were in the ’80s and ‘90s.”

That could have signaled the real end for NBC’s comedy legacy on Thursdays.

Nows, NBC’s Monday hit drama “The Blacklist” will make the move to that night, following a prime showcase after the Super Bowl.

NBC is hoping to make a ratings dent in ABC’s Thursday night dramas, not to mention CBS’ Thursday night comedy lineup, led by “The Big Bang Theory.”

This comes in a season where many of the canceled shows have been comedies, including NBC Thursday night shows “Bad Judge” and “A to Z.”

“As a longtime fan of TV comedy, it’s sad to see a broadcast network make this decision,” said Gordon. “I hope they’re not permanently abandoning the Thursday comedy lineup.”