Is The Sitcom Played Out?

This fall's glut of gimmicky, grating new entries suggests it is, but there's nothing wrong with the durable format that a good show wouldn't fix

Here's a game to play while watching the onslaught of new situation comedies being offered by the networks this fall. Try to imagine the original meeting between the shows' creators and the network executives. For CBS's Princesses, for example, it must have gone something like this:

"O.K., here's the idea. Three single women in New York. All looking for a husband. All living in the same fancy Fifth Avenue apartment."

"Yeah. Sounds like How to Marry a Millionaire. But how do we make it work for the '90s?"

"Lemme tell you the twist. We call the show Princesses. One of the...

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