TBS, the cable network that started out life as a “Superstation” in Atlanta, Georgia back in the 80s, has begun producing some of the funniest original shows on TV.
TBS has now recovered from the multiple personality disorder that saw the network dominated, at various times, by WCW, Gilligan’s Island reruns, Braves baseball and the Tyler Perry TV oeuvre. Early in 2016 the network began offering original programming aimed squarely at viewers aged 18 to 34. Those efforts are now paying off.
Comedian and former The Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee is at the heart of the new and improved TBS. Her Full Frontal news satire show airs at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays. It’s garnering critical praise and growing ratings.
The Wrap‘s Diane Gordon said of the show, “With Full Frontal, TBS truly has a comedy show that’s sure to become part of the cultural conversation and possibly fill the void felt by Jon Stewart‘s departure. There’s so much scathing, insightful, intelligent funny packed into Full Frontal and Bee’s ability to land a joke is beyond impressive.”
Bee and fellow Daily Show alum Jason Jones are also the brains behind The Detour. The show’s first season placed in the year’s top 10 new comedies on cable. The show about a family vacation gone terribly, terribly awry was actually renewed for a second season before it officially premiered. TBS based the decision on strong word of mouth and advance screenings. While its first run of episodes has finished airing, they’re available to stream at TBS.com.
The network followed up with Wrecked. The comedic take on LOST is currently airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. The network says 5.2 million viewers watch each week on TV, VOD, digital and mobile platforms. It already ranks among cable’s Top 25 scripted series for the year.
Like its dramatic inspiration, Wrecked centers on a diverse group of plane crash survivors on a remote island. They face all the dangers you would expect and a number of problems of their own making.
After just five episodes aired, TBS ordered a second season of Wrecked to air in 2017. According to TBS VP for original programming Brett Weitz, “A year ago we began reinventing TBS, and thanks to the incredible talent behind these shows, we’ve come a long way in a very short amount of time. Pulling the trigger on renewals early allows us to build on our success by giving fans new seasons more quickly.” TBS also renewed their other original, Angie Tribeca, for a third season this week.
In addition to their new original programming, TBS is also airing new episodes of American Dad. They saved the Seth MacFarlane show from cancellation over at FOX in 2014. New episodes currently air Mondays at 8:30 p.m. Also saved from cancellation, Conan O’Brien’s late-night talker is still airing new episodes Monday through Thursday at 11 p.m.