Is Fox Making Itself the Network for Funny Women?

What Women Really Think
Oct. 10 2012 5:20 PM

Is Fox Making Itself the Network for Funny Women?

Actress Angela Kinsey may get her show on Fox.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

In the aftermath of Bridesmaids, TV networks tried to figure out how to replicate its funny-lady alchemy. NBC went with hard-drinking, dirty-talking shows like Whitney, which still doesn't have a spot on the fall schedule, and Are You There, Chelsea? which was cancelled. CBS scored a hit with its girls-in-the-recession-through-the-eyes-of-Michael-Patrick-King sitcom 2 Broke Girls. And Fox committed to Zooey Deschanel's New Girl, plus came back this season with two more female-centric sitcoms in The Mindy Project and Ben & Kate. Yesterday, Fox displayed its continued confidence in the lady comedy by putting a fourth sitcom created by and about women in development.

The latest quasi-autobiographical lady show Fox picked up is Dirty Blondes, a creation of The Office star Angela Kinsey and comedian Rachel Harris. Dirty Blondes is based on Harris and Kinsey's real-life experiences supporting each other as they went through divorces. While at this stage in the development process, no television show is guaranteed to get on the air, Dirty Blondes has a put pilot commitment, which means that the network has to pay penalties if it ultimately decides not to move forward with shooting and airing a pilot episode of the show.


It's particularly interesting to see Fox continue to invest in female-driven comedy, and to broaden the age base beyond the twenty-somethings who are the main characters in New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Ben & Kate given that none of those shows are yet significant hits. New Girl debuted with about 10 million viewers and now pulls in about half that, while The Mindy Project, and Ben & Kate are being watched by closer to four million viewers. In previous seasons, numbers like those would have seemed apocalyptic, or at least reminiscent of NBC's late, critically-adored but disastrously-rated Thursday night comedy block. Now, they've been enough to earn renewals, and to have Fox coming back to the same well for more.

It's the kind of move that suggests a long-term commitment, if not to these particular shows, then to a female audience. Like the upscale urbanites that formed the core of NBC's real Must-See TV, funny women could be the basis for Fox's comedy future. Now they just need a hit.

Alyssa Rosenberg writes about culture and television for Slate’s “XX Factor” blog. She also contributes to ThinkProgress and


Sports Nut

Grandmaster Clash

One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company

Sports Nut

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.


How to Order Chinese Food

First, stop thinking of it as “Chinese food.”

Scotland Is Inspiring Secessionists Across America

The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant

The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 11:40 AM The Country Where Women Aren’t Allowed to Work Once They’re 36 Weeks’ Pregnant
Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 18 2014 1:34 PM Americans Fault Obama for Giving Them Exactly the Anti-ISIS Strategy They Want
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
The Eye
Sept. 18 2014 12:47 PM How One of the Most Prolific Known Forgers in Modern History Faked Great Works of Art
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 18 2014 12:03 PM The NFL Opines on “the Role of the Female”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Everyday That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Sept. 18 2014 1:41 PM Television for Adults The Good Wife is cynical, thrilling, and grown-up. It’s also TV’s best drama.
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 1:24 PM Can the Celebrities Whose Photos Were Stolen Really Sue Apple? It may be harder to prove “harm” than it seems.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 18 2014 7:30 AM Red and Green Ghosts Haunt the Stormy Night
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.