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The New Normal: Why Wasn’t the Show a Success?

New NormalAt today’s NBC TCA Summer Press Tour panel, executives tried to explain why The New Normal didn’t become a big hit like some of Ryan Murphy’s other shows (Glee, American Horror Story). While support for gay marriage is growing in this country, the comedy didn’t garner a lot of viewer support and it was cancelled in May.

NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke offered, “Maybe, something about the tone of it. It’s really one of those things where you look at each other and think, ‘Why didn’t this show do better than it did?’ It was the time for it. It was smart. It was original. It felt like it had breakthrough tone and originality to it. It got people talking and we thought it would build into something.”

“I don’t believe it didn’t work because it had gay characters,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt added.

He continued. “Like Jen said, we think the country is moving in the right direction, the Supreme Court is doing the right thing and there’s a growing support for gay relationships and gay marriages in this country. It may have been slightly ahead of its time, because that really was the focus of it: The gay marriage and the baby. But, we feel no regret whatsoever about putting it out there, and feel enormously proud of it.”

The network execs believe that the new Sean Hayes comedy Sean Saves the World will have an easier time catching on. Greenblatt said. “It’s a brightly lit situation comedy. He’s single, so maybe it will feel more universal to people who aren’t gay and don’t have people in their lives in gay relationships.”

While, Sean Saves the World is more of a family-type show, Salke notes, “Ryan Murphy, in his shows, likes to push an idea in every episode, something he’s grappling with and thinks people should be thinking about and is more issue-oriented in that way. And maybe that didn’t help [New Normal]. Still again, something we would stand by. But the DNA of the other show is completely different only based on in its creative origins, not in that we’re guiding it in a way that is less gay or issue-oriented.”

What do you think? Why didn’t The New Normal catch on? Was it the unique tone of the series, having issues addressed in each episode, or something else?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary October 1, 2013 at 1:26 am

We loved the show. It was so witty and smart. All of the actors were really talented. Sorry it didn’t renew. All I can think of is that the idea of a woman moving from her hometown w/her young daughter to be a surrogate was a bit far fetched.

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SCBROOKS August 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I was absolutely in love with this show. It was easy to relate, sentimental, enormously funny. I was immediately from the first episode engrossed in it as another Ryan Murphy gem. I honestly cannot understand why it didn’t catch on with the masses. As we are on the cusp of a world change on the way we view family, I believe we this was a breath of fresh air and what we need at a time like this. Very disappointing to see it go.

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geo frazera July 30, 2013 at 9:32 pm

strange as it may seem, but Nene Leaks turned me off to this show. I despised her behavior on Celebrity Apprentice and everytime i saw her on this show, i had to turn the channel. Sometimes its now about the main characters, but the supporting characters that impact the show

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Barbara July 29, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Can’t believe this great show was cancelled. It was fun, interesting and funny. It was all about a great family. Junk stays on good stuff does not.

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Brian Phillips July 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Among other things, “The New Normal” featured a single Mom, with a daughter wise beyond her years.

Among other things, “Ben and Kate” featured a single Mom, with a daughter wise beyond her years.

Among other things, “How To Live With Your Parents For The Rest of Your Life” featured a single Mom, with a daughter wise beyond her years.

I’m not making a moral judgment here, but how can you be considered cutting edge, if you are all cutting on the same edge?

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dancinhomer July 29, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Gay characters didn’t bother us at all… we just didn’t find it entertaining.

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Eddie July 29, 2013 at 1:04 pm

It wasn’t the tone. It wasn’t the gay characters. It wasn’t the full moon. The show simply wasn’t funny. Sort of important for a 1/2 hour comedy.

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Kayte CookWatts July 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm

It had nothing to do with gay or straight characters. I thought the writing was clunky, sometimes very funny, the next time overly sentimental. It wasn’t a bad show at all, but I stopped watching after 4 episodes because I wasn’t really invested in any of the relationships. The little’s girl’s mom was an annoying character too.

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Amber July 29, 2013 at 2:12 am

I’m disheartened “The New Normal” was canceled! When I first started watching & saw reviews posted from us ‘Normal’ people, (No, I’m NOT lesbian, just a viewer) it seemed to be split between Lovers & Haters (of the show). The Lovers seemed to ‘get’ the premise, & the Haters just seemed to have issues with the ‘gay’ aspect. 
To me, ‘The New Normal’ wasn’t about gay issues, IMO, but about “what makes a family”?
So I’m asking: “What IS a ‘Normal’ family, these days?
Let’s examine that for a moment. There are all types of families, whether blood related or not. As an only child, raised by a single, working mother with no dad in the picture, ever: I married young, had children, then divorced; Re-married (for 16 yrs now) a wonderful man with children; Then we had children of our own. Hubby & I each have 4 kids, & it’s the only time 4+4=6! Think about it, it’ll come to you!   
Do “I” have a ‘Normal’ family? Did I EVER have a ‘Normal’ family? And who’s to say what IS a ‘Normal Family’ anyway?
Then there are your ‘Work’ families (& b4 you tell me I’m ‘full of it’, take a week to add up all the hours you’re with the people you work with vs. the people you live with. Subtract out the hours you’re asleep or commuting, & see for yourself who you spend the most time with! Bet you’ll be surprised!); Your ‘Friends’ you consider family; Your actual, ‘I live with, Am married to, Biologically created or came from’ family; ‘Adopted’ family; (sorry if I’ve left someone out, but you get the idea); Etcetera.
Now, think back to an episode of TNN that sticks out to you for whatever reason. If you really think about it, you’ll probably realize that it was all about family issues. Making the right decisions for our family, making choices that will ultimately better the life of our children’s future, as well as our own, etc. 

Reading the article above, & seeing an NBC exec saying: 
“The network execs believe that the new Sean Hayes comedy Sean Saves the World will have an easier time catching on. Greenblatt said. “It’s a brightly lit situation comedy. He’s single, so maybe it will feel more universal to people who aren’t gay and don’t have people in their lives in gay relationships.”

I’m willing to bet EVERYONE knows SOMEONE who is gay, they probably just don’t realize it! And I DO hope the new Sean Hayes show is a hit, I’ve always loved that actor!
Of course, we all have opinions, (just as I am expressing mine), but let’s not forget: We all have choices, & are free to change the channel if we don’t like a show. I just don’t understand why people have to ‘bash’ a show or anything else. But, I guess that’s because my mother taught me manners. As in, “If you don’t have anything nice to say,,,, don’t say anything at all”!
I wish some people could see past the Gay/Lesbian, Race, Religion, etc. part of characters that are portrayed on television, & just see shows for what they are: ENTERTAINMENT! And that all are based on a ‘premise of a message’ in each episode. After all, Gay or Straight; Christian, Jewish or (___insert religion___); Black, White, Green, Purple or Orange; all families deal with the same issues now and again. Religion, Politics, Money, Insecurities, Illness, Discrimination, Housework, need I “Go On”? Which brings me to another show I wish NBC didn’t cancel, but that’s for another time & place!
I hope an NBC exec sees this post, & considers bringing back “The New Normal”! It HAS been done before, as we’ve all seen!

Just a viewer who enjoys well written, fresh, new shows!
Amber
FYI: ‘Family Issues’ was my message, but think I should point out: My mother WAS a lesbian, who wanted to have a child. She ‘protected’ me from the homosexual discrimination & ugliness by putting her love life on hold for many, many years, & not divulging that information to me until I was in my late teens. And to any ignorant (which means “Not Informed”, I’m not bashing anyone!) people who think that all gay parents only raise more G/L people: I can honestly tell you, that is NOT the case, nor is homosexuality hereditary! 
Racisim is yet another topic which gets under my skin, as I teach my children early on, to look at a person’s: character, morals, values, honesty, trustworthiness, & how they treat others, before looking at their skin color! “On the outside, we are all different, but on the inside, we are all the same! We all have a heart, blood, & feelings. Peel off our skin, and could you tell the difference”?

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thnunumber6 July 28, 2013 at 8:30 pm

The obnoxious title certainly didn’t help.

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Dave July 28, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Loved the show. Just to many progressive themes I believe. When watching (and enjoying) I kept thinking would this or that fly. I’m surprised there wasn’t more right wing complaints. I think people instead voted with their clickers. Everyone focuses on the gay theme, but you also had a conservative character portrayed as the antagonist, and a very ethnic female as a positive role model. Definately not the Claire Huxtuble school. Lastly a child who maybe portraying a little too liberal upbringing and maybe a little too sassy at times, and you have just too many things that could turn off viewers. A few here a few there and you lose the ratings battle.

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robycop3 July 28, 2013 at 4:50 pm

“The New Normal” was the old abnormal.

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Ed Gardner July 28, 2013 at 10:42 am

I will not speculate. I am just very disappointed that NBC was not willing to give it a second season. I loved everything about it. It was real. It was funny. It portrayed the characters having real life scenarios. A sad day when it was not renewed.

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Barbara July 28, 2013 at 5:17 am

I loved the show. It seems all the shows I like are being cancelled. I guess ill have to start reading again. its really getting old watching shows that are being cancelled not even giving them a chance.

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senmei July 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Too much drama? Shows that rely on stereotypes only work well in comedy format imo.

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