This image released by NBC shows, from left, Joel Kim Booster, Poppy Liu, Samba Schutte, Kal Penn, Diana Marie Riva and Moses Storm in a scene from "Sunnyside." On Thursday night, where NBC sitcoms including "Cheers" and "Friends" ruled back in the 1980s and '90s, the network will introduce newcomers "Perfect Harmony" and "Sunnyside" to join returning comedies "Superstore" and "The Good Place" this fall. (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

NBC bets on comedy next year, 'This Is Us" for years to come

May 13, 2019 - 2:08 am

NEW YORK (AP) — NBC is betting big on comedies for its upcoming fall television schedule.

The network announced Sunday that it is adding four new sitcoms to its lineup for 2019-20, with stars including Kenan Thompson of "Saturday Night Live" and sitcom veteran Fran Drescher.

The announcement came a day before the network will present the shows to advertisers in Manhattan.

NBC isn't just looking for laughs — it has renewed the tear-jerking drama series "This Is Us" for an additional three seasons.

The network said it's working from a position of ratings strength but, acknowledging the rising competition from streaming platforms such as Netflix, says its shows will have a critical digital afterlife.