‘No End in Sight’ for ‘Sunny’ Days

Well, the Eagles have wrapped up a miserable season, and the Sixers are 3-33. But at least there’s a new season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to celebrate in the City of Brotherly Love.

Season 11 premieres Jan. 6 on FXX, and promises “more misguided dreams leading to blundered schemes”, according to the net, from Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Dee and Frank. It’s Always Sunny is contracted for season 12, and Charlie Day, executive producer and star, says it may go longer. “We’ll wait to the new year to have that conversation with the network,” said Day in the waning days of ‘15. “It’s possible we’ll do seasons beyond that.”

There’s plenty of untouched territory yet for the inventive comedy, believes Day, who plays Charlie Kelly on the show (and whose film credits include Horrible Bosses). “We haven’t felt like we’ve burned out ourselves or the characters or the subject matter,” he said. “In many ways, it’s possible there’s no end in sight.”

Day notes how, when the show started in 2005, everyone watched it on FX. It picked up fans along the way on Hulu, Comedy Central and Netflix. “We benefitted from sticking around for 11 seasons and having the technology catch up,” said Day. “It’s given us as much awareness as [we’ve ever had].”

The move to FXX in the fall of 2013 was a vote of affirmation, he believes. “The network tasked us with helping launch a new channel—it’s nice that they chose us,” Day said. (The Simpsons marathon a year later certainly helped build awareness for FXX too.)  

Creatively, he adds, nothing has changed with the channel shift.

It’s typical for exec producers to have multiple shows on the air, or at least in the works. In fall 2014, FX Networks ordered a pilot for comedy Pariah, which was created by John and Dave Chernin, with It’s Always Sunny executive producer/star Rob McElhenney directing the pilot and executive producing with Sunny colleagues Day and Glenn Howerton under the trio's RCG Productions banner. FX ultimately passed on the series.

“We have a couple other things in the early stages of development,” says Day, declining to go into detail. “We have a bunch of hooks in the water, and are waiting for a bite.”

But for now, it’s all about It’s Always Sunny, which leads into a new season of Man Seeking Woman. The new season will feature the goofy drinking game "Chardee MacDennis" last seen several seasons ago (“a demented combination of every board game ever,” says Day), an episode that pays homage to the cheesy ski movies of an earlier era, and Danny DeVito’s Frank falling out of a window and thinking it’s 2006 all over again. There’s also another episode told from Frank’s point of view, and a two-parter set on a cruise ship.

“We change the format and play with the story structure,” Day said. “Fans appreciate not knowing exactly what to expect.”

It’s Always Sunny doesn’t get much love from awards judges, but its fans are as diehard as any series’. And few shows can boast of a dozen seasons.

“We can’t walk down the street without meeting a fan; we sure feel the love of the people,” said Day. “And forget trying to go anywhere in Philadelphia—it’s almost scary.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.