So What Happened to the Golden Age of Black Sitcoms?

#1
YouTube channel AJ+ made a video a couple days ago discussing the emergence and fall of the golden age of black sitcoms in the 1990s. Presented by Imaeyen Ibanga, the video goes over how The Cosby sparked the creation of black sitcoms in the 90s to their peak in popularity to the decline caused by the emergence of gentrification and reality shows.


She also discusses how this period created a distinct difference in viewership in black and white households for the first time ever. We see how probable the resurgence of the representation from the 90s is with modern examples like Atlanta, Blackish, and Dear White People.

Here is a quote from author Kristal Zook about why some of the 90s black sitcoms were cancelled early in their lifespan.

Fox Network that aired the majority of the black shows cancelled them because Fox was then in a position to court white audiences.
Here's the link for the video again. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEiXGrqoFMs
 
#4
I'm glad that we've at least been getting so many black shows that are amazing lately. Insecure, Atlanta, Dear White People are all quite amazing so far.

once the community turned on Brandy it was all over tbh


The Parkers >>>>> your faves
Fixed for accuracy!
I loved Moesha too
 
#12
I'm glad that we've at least been getting so many black shows that are amazing lately. Insecure, Atlanta, Dear White People are all quite amazing so far.



Fixed for accuracy!
I loved Moesha too
Parkers over Moesha?

Everyday we stray further from the Lord's light.
 
#20
Martin is still one of the best shows on TV.
My personal 2nd black sitcom.

That's my shit right there, but can't stand the son in that version he is corny and his hairline bothers me. Bird is the truth!

New York undercover
I was thinking that myself, but wondering if that counted. I haven't seen it in a while and couldn't remember if it just had one black character or a lot.
 
#22
Micro-targeting demographics in the '00s. "Black" shows got sent to CW/UPN/cable because TV networks and advertisers were specifically targeting demos w/ their programming w/ far more precision than they previously did.

For instance, NBC's comedies like The Office continually got ratings that were very bad relative to other programming, but they stayed on season after season despite this because the audience that DID watch them was urban/suburban, educated, and had money. This led to them being very attractive to advertisers.
 
#26
When I look back to the 90's I always wonder how the hell were TV execs able to take chances on so many black sitcoms? What was their line of thinking and how come we see less of it now?
 
#30
Even as a white dude, I remember watching the shit out of Living Single (legit better than Friends) and Martin. Never watched Moesha, though.

Plus, if they count, all of the shows more age appropriate for me back then: Sister Sister, Family Matters, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, The Jamie Foxx Show, and -- of course -- Fresh Prince.

And I remember my dad introducing me to Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.

Jesus. Just listing that out, all of those memorable shows, they really have dried up.
 
#37
Even as a white dude, I remember watching the shit out of Living Single (legit better than Friends) and Martin. Never watched Moesha, though.

Plus, if they count, all of the shows more age appropriate for me back then: Sister Sister, Family Matters, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, The Jamie Foxx Show, and -- of course -- Fresh Prince.

And I remember my dad introducing me to Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.

Jesus. Just listing that out, all of those memorable shows, they really have dried up.
I'm probably biased, but they don't really make sitcoms (black or otherwise) like they used to.
 
#38
The same thing that happened to the white sitcoms, people got tired of them. They had their last hurrah in the 00s no thanks to reality TV, and Dramedys took over in the 10s.

Big Bang Theory still manages to pull in 20 million viewers on average which is respectable. But that's bout the only blockbuster one anymore and the genre's market share is dwindling by the year. Blackish does well to stay near 10 million viewers
 
#41
The same thing that happened to the white sitcoms, people got tired of them. They had their last hurrah in the 00s no thanks to reality TV, and Dramedys took over in the 10s.

Big Bang Theory still manages to pull in 20 million viewers on average which is respectable. But that's bout the only blockbuster one anymore and the genre's market share is dwindling by the year. Blackish does well to stay near 10 million viewers
Plenty of white sitcoms were on network TV in the '00s.
 
#44
I read they're rebooting Living Single with Latifah's involvement so we might be on the verge of greatness once more!

Fresh Prince + Martin + Living Single triple threat back in the day, of course Moesha was great too.

Yeah we've been hurting since the late 90s in this genre.
 
#45
Plenty of white sitcoms were on network TV in the '00s.
I know, I'm not disputing that. There were several black sitcoms in the 00s too. Everybody Hates Chris, Bernie Mac Show, every other UPN show, The Game, all of Tyler Perry's shows.

Once Youtube and Netflix hit the market we saw more black creatives do things other than your regular ass sitcom

ninja edit: I don't even know if I have it in me to watch a regular "lets reuse the same set w/ the same camera angle" show anymore. It's boring. It's tried. Part of the reason I couldn't get into the Carmichael show
 
#48
They had to be sacrificed for the greatness that is current CW. I watched a lot of them when I was young but most of the ones that made it here weren't that good. Aside from everybody hates Chris and fresh prince.