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Beware the Funny Panelist/Bad Ratings Curse #TCA14

TV comedy writers, on average, make the best panelists. They’re writers, so they know how to use words and tell stories. They also have to have a professional-level sense of humor and comedic timing to do their job.

So perhaps it should have been no surprise that Emily Kapnek, creator of ABC’s Selfie, won my personal award for best response yet at this summer’s TV Critics Association Press Tour on Tuesday, during her show’s session. But as soon as I tweeted:

My heart also dropped for Kapnek. That’s because last year, during ABC’s TCA day, I was enchanted by the good panel given by another funny ABC comedy creator, Trophy Wife exec producer Sarah Haskins, per this tweet from last August:

Trophy Wife, which I liked quite a bit more than what I’ve seen of Selfie — as charming as Kapnek and her show’s stars Karen Gillan and John Cho are — did not prevail in primetime. (ABC has posted some clips from Selfie here) Despite it being a family comedy, Trophy Wife did not get the plum post-Modern Family time slot and struggled on Tuesday nights. It was canceled after its first season.

ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee defended the scheduling of Trophy Wife during his TCA executive session Tuesday morning, saying it “was a disappointment and we tried hard toward the end of the season to create really promotable episodes that we could promote, and we still couldn’t bring people to it.”

I don’t want to say TCA panelists should throw their sessions. But there does kind of appear to be a TCA good panel/bad ratings curse…at least for ABC comedies of late. Just in case, Ms. Kapnek, prior to your social-media themed Selfie’s Sept. 30 debut, there’s probably a Twitter rain dance or something you might want to try.