Sean Hayes Blames NBC For His Sitcom’s Ratings

Calls 'Sean Saves The World' The 'Funniest Sitcom' On TV


Sean Hayes seems to be blaming NBC — or more specifically, the network’s lack of overall viewers — for his sitcom’s less-than-stellar ratings.

SEAN SAVES THE WORLD is averaging about 3.4 million sets of eyeballs and appears to be teetering on the brink of cancelation — despite receiving an order last week for four additional scripts.   “Based on its relative ratings there’s no chance it comes back for season 2,” says Bill Gorman, editor of

Still, Hayes remains optimistic.

“To me, [the show] is working,” the star insisted during a set visit yesterday. “It’s just the struggle of the elephant in the room which is ‘how do you get viewers to NBC?’ NBC programs great shows, it just doesn’t have the eyeballs CBS does.”

Hayes — who also produces HOLLYWOOD GAME NIGHT for the struggling network — insists both he and Peacock brass are “confident” in the comedy about a divorced, gay dad raising his 14 year-old daughter.

“Even if I wasn’t on the show, it’d be the funniest sitcom, to me, on the air right now,” he tells me. “I watch it and go, ‘Well, this is really f–king funny.’ I wouldn’t change anything right now, I think it’s all working.”

Here’s more of what Hayes had to say.

There have been some reviews, that I’m sure you have seen, that said this show wasn’t funny.
Yeah, but WILL & GRACE got those. BIG BANG THEORY got those. FRIENDS got those. They all did. SEINFELD got horrible reviews… I think critics like to associate themselves with cool, hip things and multi-cams feel retro to them. To me, whatever’s funny is funny. So if they don’t think it’s funny, that’s one thing. But I think they get nervous because they want their name on something new and hip and cool, and a lot of times they associate that with single-cam shows because those are the du jour format. This format isn’t that so they get scared.

Had you ever thought of doing this show as a single camera?
Yeah. But to me [multi-camera shows] ones that live on forever. The only hit single-cam show in the history of television that is a big hit, is MODERN FAMILY. Did THE OFFICE do well? Yes, but that’s it. But you and I can stand here and say, “Name 50 multi-cams that have been successful…” So I wanted to be a part of success.

What’s the scariest thing about starting a show again?
Just, “Will people watch?” Finding an audience. It’s the same fear any producer has for their own show. “Will it work? Will it find an audience?” But we have the full support of the network behind us so we’re in that fortunate position. In the beginning I was worried, “God, is this funny? Are these characters going to mesh?” Now, I can wipe my brow knowing that’s accomplished. Finally we’re seeing the relationships work and getting a little deeper into them.

You have great on screen chemistry with your daughter [Samantha Isler]…
Isn’t she great? She’s amazing. She’s a star, that kid. Isn’t she a star? You know what I love?  [Executive producer] Jimmy Burrows when we were doing the casting said, “Pick her. She’s . . .” – what’s the guy’s name from TWO AND A HALF MEN? The kid? [Angus T. Jones] “Pick her, she’s Angus.” The by-product of picking Sammy was, and I didn’t realize it, but she kind of looks like me a little bit. She’s got the brown hair, blue eyes and the pale skin, I’m like, “Oh my god. You really could be my daughter.” And on top of it, I just think she’s so talented. And I don’t know if she’s aware of it or not, but she just knocks those one liners out of the park, at such a young age.

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Linda Lavin is also a wonderful piece of casting. Is your real mom like that?
My mom, yes, was like that. She’s got Alzheimer’s now — that’s a whole other story — but yes, very much so. [She’s] very kind of controlling and could never make her happy and judgmental, and all those things. [The Lorna] character of is very eerily similar to my real mom.

What episode are you working on now?
I think this is the ninth episode. It’s called “Best Friends Never.” And Liz [Megan Hilty] “cheating” on me with another gay pal that she likes – in a friendly way. It’s cheating on best friends. So I get jealous, and I start a rather unfortunate relationship with a girl, a vendor who comes into my office. And it turns out disastrous!

Where did the name come from? Were there others you considered?
Oh, my God… This was the first one, and then, there were a hundred others. But I like this. It’s so silly, funny. It’s like so ironic. Like EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. Not everybody loved Raymond. SEAN SAVES THE WORLD, but he’s not really saving the world… [laughs]

Are you a fan of SEAN SAVES THE WORLD? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sean Daly

Sean Daly

Editor-In-Chief at
Sean Daly is a veteran entertainment journalist.His work has appeared in People, Us Weekly, The Toronto Star and other top publications. He was the west coast TV reporter for The New York Post from 2008 - 2013. Sean is the author of Inside AGT: The Untold Stories of America's Got Talent and Teen Mom Confidential: Secrets and Scandals From MTV's Most Controversial Shows.
Sean Daly