Veteran producer Bob Daily says it might be too early to take the sitcom off the Do Not Resuscitate list, but he's cautiously optimistic about the state of half hour comedies.
"I think shows like 30 Rock and The Office are as good as anything from the genre's so-called Golden Age," Daily, the Emmy-award winning writer/executive producer of Frasier and Desperate Housewives, says.
The broadcast networks haven't allowed much shelf space to comedies in the last decade, when they flooded the schedules with tepid sitcoms. When those shows fell flat, the window began to close.
"Now show runners are able to assemble writing staffs that are comic all-star teams," Daily says. "A decade ago, when sitcoms ruled the networks, the writing talent was stretched a little thin. Not anymore."
So just how do the current crop of 13 half-hour comedies stack up?
30 Rock - Tina Fey is smokin' hot right now, which could give a boost to this ratings-challenged comedy. The series took home Emmys this year for best comedy, writing (Fey) and acting (Fey and Alec Baldwin).
The Office - Rock's running mate on Thursday hasn't been faring well against top rating grabbers CSI and Grey's Anatomy. The quality comedy still sings, but there aren't many people out there listening.
Two and a Half Men - This comedy powers into a dead heat in the ratings with Grey's and Dancing with the Stars. It's still a show about horny guys and hot women, and while sex certainly sells the spot, there's plenty of yucks in this popular series.
The Big Bang Theory - Consistently hilarious, this could have been a one-joke wonder about brainy guys and a dumb blonde. Instead the clever play between Leonard (Johnny Galecki), Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Penny (Kaley Cuoco) works comic magic. And Parsons just keeps getting better.
How I Met Your Mother - All the cool kids are watching it, which might be the reason why this Tuesday combo of Big Bang and HIMYM scores good numbers for CBS, even against DWTS.
Worst Week - This painfully funny show based on the British series has been a hit for CBS, with the only The Mentalist and Eleventh Hour ranking higher in the freshman category. Looks like a keeper.
Samantha Who? - There's only one egg in ABC comedy basket, and this is it. Christina Applegate was up for an Emmy whose memory loss makes her a better person. The series premiere was up by 1.3 million viewers, which bodes well for this top-20 series.
Everybody Hates Chris - Everybody might not hate Chris, but few love it enough to tune in. Languishing in the rating cellar, this clever comedy coulda been a contender anywhere else but on the Can't Watch network.
New Adventures of Old Christine - Julia Louis- Dreyfus turned in an Emmy nominated performance in this bright comedy about a divorced mom dealing with her ex, their kid and dating, but it's only in the middle of the ratings pack.
Gary Unmarried - This freshman series with Jay Mohr as a recently divorced dad dealing with his ex, his kids and new girlfriend ties in the ratings with its Wednesday night partner Christine. Solid but predictible.
My Name is Earl - Once a must-see comedy, Earl is sinking in the ratings, and creatively is just treading water.
Kath & Kim - This freshman series, lifted from the wildly popular Austrailian show, had critics cringing and viewers tuning out in droves. Coupled with Earl, it doesn't have a chance.
The Game - Never heard of this show? No surprise. The series about women and football players just began its third season. Coupled with Chris on the CW on a Friday, someone needs to slap a GPS on it just to find the show.