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History of the Sitcom

History of the Sitcom

  • Premiered: 
    July 11, 2021
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: CNN
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Entertainment
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Plot Synopsis

HISTORY OF THE SITCOM is an eight-episode documentary series that chronicles the history of television's situation comedies, including their friends, families, and co-workers. The series features over 180 original interviews with sitcom icons -- such as Norman Lear, Tina Fey, Tracy Morgan, Lisa Kudrow, Jason Alexander, Kelsey Grammer, Kim Fields, Tim Allen, Carl Reiner, Dick Van Dyke, George Lopez, Mel Brooks, Isabella Gomez, Ted Danson, Joey Soloway, Jimmie Walker, Judd Apatow, Dan Levy, Zooey Deschanel, Chuck Lorre, Mara Brock Akil, Helen Hunt and many more -- breaking down how sitcoms have helped generations of Americans navigate an ever-shifting cultural landscape. HISTORY OF THE SITCOM premiered on Sunday, July 11, 2021 from 9-11pm ET/PT, as CNN debuted back-to-back episodes, with a new episode debuting at 9pm on subsequent Sundays through August 22:

"A Family Matter" (Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 9pm): Moms, dads, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters -- more than just a hilarious reflection of the people we grow up and old with, sitcoms have opened our hearts to a more inclusive visions of what "family" can mean.

"Sex & the Sitcom" (Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 10pm): Since America has long found it easier to laugh about sex than talk seriously about it, sitcom humor has had a critical role ushering in a new era of openness, not just towards sex, but toward women's rights and gender identity.

"Just Friends" (Sunday, July 18, 2021 at 9pm): When Americans look beyond family or work for their identity, the "hanging out with friends" sitcom hilariously redefines the genre while also revealing television's challenging quest for inclusivity and authentic representation.

"Working for Laughs" (Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 9pm): Work families can be even funnier than our biological ones, since the endless array of wacky sitcom characters on the job offers hilarious insights into the state of the American workplace.

"Facing Race" (Sunday, August 1, 2021 at 9pm): In many homes, difficult conversations about race and diversity have first happened on the sitcom screen, helping pave the way for progress with hilarity and laughter.

"Movin' On Up" (Sunday, August 8, 2021 at 9pm): Upward mobility, the American Dream, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps -- sitcom laughs have helped generations of Americans come to grips with their place in a supposed "classless" society.

"Freaks, Geeks & Outsiders" (Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 9pm): Aliens, geeks, monsters, immigrants, witches...the fresh perspective of sitcom fish-out-of-water give us funny new insights into the ever-changing face of America.

"Escaping Reality" (Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 9pm): Sitcoms have long been the ultimate comedy comfort food, but what sitcoms offer escape from -- and what they offer escape to -- reveal a lot about the state of the American mind, and the state of sitcom form itself.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Cream Productions