Comedy and sitcoms once ruled the airwaves. The mid-eighties featured Cosby, Cheers and Family Ties. The mid-nineties had Seinfeld and Home Improvment. Today we have Will and Grace, Raymond and Friends. But overall, there are fewer sitcoms making their way into the list of the most watched shows.
Part of it could be reality programming. But some it could also be the spread of cable and original programming on HBO and Showtime. The folks who did Seinfeld yesterday would rather push the limit and really be funny with Curb Your Enthusiasm today. If this were the mid-eighties, Jon Stewart would probably be starring in a sitcom opposite a mechanical puppet.