11:04 pm - 02/04/2013

'Rules of Engagement' and other TV sitcoms that refused to die

It's baaaaaack ...

Rules of Engagement may be the Energizer bunny of sitcoms; the middling CBS comedy starring David Spade and Patrick Warburton flat-out refuses to die. After canceling it last spring, the network changed its mind, went back to the TV scrapyard and slotted it as a midseason replacement. As it returns for its seventh season (Mondays, 8:30 ET/PT), USA TODAY's Jayme Deerwester looks at a few other series that may have seen their days, but outlasted their expected shelf lives and stuck around to plug holes in network lineups. They're all shows that made us stop and ask, "Wait, that's still on?"

'According to Jim'

Seasons: 2001-09. Throughout its run, ABC shuffled Jim around the 8 p.m.-9 p.m. blocks on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as running it during the regular season, midseason and summer.

The situation: Suburban schlub of a dad (Jim Belushi); his hot, smart wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith); and their three cute kids.

Ratings peak: The show saw its highest ratings (10.3 million) during the 2002-03 broadcast year, when it aired Tuesday at 8:30 for the full season.

Ratings low: The show dropped to 3.8 million for its final two seasons, when it ran from April to June.

Historical footnote:Jim was considered canceled in late 2008 and the sets were struck, yet ABC broke up the episodes, airing the last dozen the following spring.


Seasons: 1989-97. During those nine years, it jumped around the ABC schedule 16 times, in four different time slots on four different nights.

The situation: The trials and tribulations of Minnesota State football coach Hayden Fox (Craig T. Nelson), who is not-so-ably aided by dippy assistant Luther (Jerry Van Dyke).

Ratings peak:Coach scored 15.7 million viewers during the 1989-90 season.

Ratings low: Its final season only saw 8.1 million viewers, low in those days.

Historical footnote: The Aug. 6, 1997, series finale played on Luther's dimwittedness, with actor Van Dyke denying Coach was finally over. "I'm still coming to work on Monday," he announced.


Seasons: 1990-97. Its peak years were spent in the Thursday 9:30 time slot. However, it jumped around the NBC lineup with great frequency, with stints ranging from one to six months.

The situation: Pilot brothers Joe and Brian Hackett (Timothy Daly and Steven Weber) try to keep their small airline aloft on the resort island of Nantucket, and interact with the other denizens of their private airport.

Ratings peak: The show spent four seasons in the top 30 and saw its highest numbers during the 1991-92 season, with 14.6 million tuning in.

Ratings low: Wings didn't make the top 30 in either its first or last two seasons.

Historical footnote: Wings lifted the careers of two future Oscar nominees: Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) and John Hawkes (Winter's Bone). And it gave the first big TV role to Tony Shalhoub, who would go on to become Monk.


redaodai 5th-Feb-2013 05:39 am (UTC)
I miss that show.

liberateourtime 5th-Feb-2013 05:40 am (UTC)
elementalranger 5th-Feb-2013 05:42 am (UTC)
it really lost itself in the last couple of seasons. i wonder if the writing staff changed or what happened with that.

Edited at 2013-02-05 05:42 am (UTC)
redaodai 5th-Feb-2013 05:43 am (UTC)
Yeah, it wasn't as funny in the end. It was like, heh funny more than anything. In the early seasons, I straight up cackled at many episodes.
haverchuck_bill 5th-Feb-2013 12:35 pm (UTC)
agreed. Early Hank Hill is gold.
atomicdogmeat 5th-Feb-2013 02:25 pm (UTC)
God I hated Lucky. Luanne deserved some one so much better.
miss_almost 5th-Feb-2013 06:35 pm (UTC)
it had a format change and that killed it. judge and daniels (the creators) became less involved after season 6. basically fox said you have to be episodic and no more story arcs so that way fox could air the shows out of order and people didnt need to know anything about the show or any character development to "get it" which was what made it awful.

the first few seasons are the best because the characters change and grow - nancy & john redcorns affair, bobby and connie dating and breaking up and being friends, joseph going through puberty, etc.
roguewave3 5th-Feb-2013 05:43 am (UTC)
lol dying at the first gif

I used to watch it sometimes.
fauxkaren 5th-Feb-2013 05:48 am (UTC)
King of the Hill really had some quality episodes.
recoil_ 5th-Feb-2013 05:54 am (UTC)
It's probably due to me being older, but I didn't care for it when it was on Fox, though now I love it on Adult Swim.
beetlebums 5th-Feb-2013 07:06 am (UTC)
We are the same person!

Did you also smoke while watching it?
diamond_dust06 5th-Feb-2013 04:00 pm (UTC)
Me too.
testdrivegirl 5th-Feb-2013 06:23 am (UTC)
RIP brittany murphy
deviousweasel 5th-Feb-2013 06:34 am (UTC)
it blew my mind when I learned that Tom Petty voiced Lucky omfg
shayme 5th-Feb-2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
I love this show so freaking much!
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