'Whitney' Is Back, Though No One Knows Why

Posted on November 14, 2012 

NBC has replaced recent failure "Animal Practice" with the slightly-less failure "Whitney," which returns tonight at 8 p.m.

I suppose whatever deal comic Whitney Cummings made with the Devil to keep this sitcom, as well as the unfunny "Two Broke Girls," is still in effect, since she produces both of them.

I know NBC needs to fill the timeslot, but the network is showing too much patience with some of its shows. "Whitney" was one of the most lambasted shows of last season, and its ratings didn't really justify another season.

Yet NBC is showing similar patience with "Up All Night," changing it from the single-camera comedy it is now to a multi-camera sitcom shot in front of a live audience come winter.

It's a head-scratching sort of strategy, particularly when it has the critically-lauded "Community" sitting on the shelf until February after delaying its October launch. "Community" probably won't deliver any better ratings than these shows, but at least it has a loyal fan base and is actually good.

Then again, NBC is rolling the dice on the non-sitcom side as well. The best-rated new show of the season, "Revolution," will go on a long hiatus after November sweeps, not returning until the end of March -- thereby threatening to kill the momentum the show has been picking up.

Also, NBC has been running "The Voice" on multiple days during the week, thereby risking viewer fatigue.

NBC has been showing signs of life with the success of "Revolution" and "Go On," both solid new hits. But the network needs to have a better long-term strategy than retooling mediocre shows.

WEDNESDAY'S BEST BETS: "Whitney" and "Guys With Kids" leads off an underwhelming lineup that also includes "Law & Order: SVU" and "Chicago Fire."

ABC's sitcoms include "The Middle," "The Neighbors," "Modern Family" and "Suburgatory," followed by "Nashville" at 10 p.m. CBS counters with "Survivor," "Criminal Minds" and "CSI."

Is it wrong of me to say I'm actually looking more forward to "Arrow," (CW, 8 p.m.), which features the Royal Flush Gang tonight, than I am what has been a listless season of "Supernatural?" At least the latter brings back Castiel tonight, so I'm hoping for a better offering this week.

"X-Factor" (Fox, 8 p.m.) is new, and there's a new "American Horror Story" (FX, 10 p.m.)

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