DOCUMENT: Celebrity

Buck Up, Amy Poehler

Focus groups pan comic's sitcom (just like 'Friends' 15 years ago)

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Buck Up, Amy Poehler

MARCH 24--So Amy Poehler's new NBC comedy fared poorly in recent test screenings, according to a March 18 internal network research report cited in an online posting. The former 'Saturday Night Live' cast member, seen at left, stars in 'Parks and Recreation,' a sitcom scheduled to debut on April 9 (in case you haven't seen the frequent promos).

Of course, these network reports can wildly miss the mark. Witness the May 1994 NBC research report on 'Friends,' a copy of which we've reprised here. Test audiences thought the sitcom was 'not very entertaining, clever, or original,' and 'found the characters smug, superficial, and self-absorbed.' The 'Friends' pilot received a 'weak' grade of 41 out of 100.

Of course, the series lasted a decade and earned NBC hundreds of millions. (4 pages)