Modern Family Creator Steven Levitan Thinks There Could Be Another Great Multi-Cam Sitcom [Exclusive]

As the world evolves, so does the primetime entertainment that reflects it. The line from a traditional '50s sitcom like "The Dick Van Dyke Show" to a more modern approach with "Abbott Elementary" zigs and zags in all sorts of directions, but the latter can't exist without the foundation set by the other. Both shows couldn't be more different from one another, but the one thing they share is painting a picture of the period in which they were made, and how they were made.

Showrunner Steve Levitan, who has been in the sitcom game since the '90s with "Frasier" and "Wings," is back with the new comedy series, "Reboot." The show stars Rachel Bloom ("Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"), Judy Greer ("Halloween Kills"), Keegan-Michael Key ("Key & Peele"), Johnny Knoxville ("Jackass Forever"), Paul Reiser ("Stranger Things"), Calum Worthy ("Austin & Ally"), and Krista Marie Yu ("Last Man Standing").

Rather than moving forward with another single camera setup, the series' synopsis about a fictional sitcom revival indicates a much different path:

"Hulu reboots an early 2000's family sitcom, forcing its dysfunctional cast back together. Now they must deal with their unresolved issues in today's fast-changing world."

In an era where embracing meta trends has become the norm, "Reboot" seems to fit right in. While most sitcoms have embraced the switch from multi-camera to single camera, Levitan believes there's room for both.

Multi-cam sitcoms of the past still have legs

In an interview with /Film's Ethan Anderton, Levitan talked about the switch in shooting styles has likely evolved from the way we consume our entertainment:

"My theory is it came about, in part, because of reality shows and because of things like YouTube, where people were getting used to a steady diet of shows that felt more real than the sitcoms that they were watching."

Levitan is right in that people have grown to see beyond the open set and live audience, and crave something new. But at the same time, he believes that there is still a market for multi-cam shows such as "Friends," which still maintains its popularity to this day. Levitan even points to revival series like "Fuller House" as an example of a multi-cam sitcom that shows there is an audience for retro television in a modern context, but it's far from the kind of success it used to be:

"I'm convinced that somebody will come along and do it, and create another show that audiences enjoy as much as, say, a "Friends." But now the audience is so fragmented, that it could never quite be the phenomenon that show was."

A lot can happen in what feels like a short stretch of time. Even a show like the Emmy award-winning "Modern Family," which Levitan also produced for over 11 seasons, had been on the air for so long that the landscape for half-hour sitcoms went through significant changes from its 2009 premiere to its 2020 conclusion.

The first three episodes of "Reboot" are currently streaming on Hulu.