Upfronts: Musings on CBS’s schedule

This week is one of the most exciting and hectic times for the television industry and those of us who like to pontificate about it — upfronts! All week the broadcast networks will be announcing their fall schedules for advertisers, which means all sorts of stories about pick-ups, cancellations and armchair quarterbacking from people like me in response to the new schedules. So I’ll be chiming in every day with my thoughts on new schedules. Obviously I haven’t seen any of the new series and I won’t pretend as if I know anything outside of the small tidbits of information gathered from press releases. But I still have something to say, damnit!

Time for the eyeball! For a network that is usually so set in its ways, CBS’s 10-11 schedule seemingly features the most turnover — Ghost Whisperer, The New Adventures of Old Christine,Gary UnmarriedCold Case,Miami MedicalAccidentally on Purpose, and Numb3rs were all canceled — and includes a handful of risky, but attacking movements.

MONDAY
8 p.m.  How I Met Your Mother
8:30     Rules of Engagement
9:00     Two and a Half Men
9:30     Mike and Molly
10:00   Hawaii Five-0

Thoughts: As you can see, Monday’s big comedy powerhouse The Big Bang Theory is no longer on Mondays. Whoa! Accidentally on Purpose gone and Bang moved to a different night, that leaves room for a full season of the least-funny comedy series on television, Rules of Engagement, which has spent almost all of its run being a midseason replacement. It gets solid ratings, but I swear to the good Lord above, I do not know anyone who actually watches or likes it. CBS ladies and gentlemen! Also new on Mondays and in general is 9:30’s Mike and Molly, which is from uber producer Chuck Lorre and is about two overweight people who find love. I don’t want to be insensitive, but I feel like that’s how these series will treat overweight people. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. The new Hawaii Five-0 takes the slot previously held down by former megahit CSI: Miami, a move that again proves that CBS is not going to get complacent with its aging hits like some other networks (coughABCcough).

TUESDAY
8 p.m.  NCIS
9:00     NCIS LA
10:00   The Good Wife

Thoughts: No changes here and rightfully so, considering this is a really solid night for the network.

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m.  Survivor: Nicaragua
9:00     Criminal Minds
10:00   The Defenders

Thoughts: Second major change alert! After almost a decade at Thursdays at 8 p.m., Survivor has been bumped to Wednesdays at 8 p.m. I don’t know what just happened, my world has been rocked. For CBS, this is a genius move and signals to NBC’s and their Undercovers that this means war. I talked about how Wednesday at 8 p.m. was open ground that could lead to major throw-downs in 10-11 and CBS probably just won that war already. Survivor has been winning Thursday nights for most of the spring, so there’s no way it won’t do the same on Wednesday. The Defenders stars Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi as a pair of Las Vegas lawyers. I can’t believe that series was picked up. Look at that duo again.

THURSDAY
8 p.m.  The Big Bang Theory
8:30     $#*! My Dad Says
9:00     CSI:
10:00   The Mentalist

Thoughts: And CBS drops the hammer again. After staking their ground on Wednesdays with Survivor, the network is trying to re-gain some of the ground its lost on Thursdays with Big Bang Theory, which is the biggest broadcast network comedy. It’s a huge move that proves CBS understands that some of its series are getting older and it is time to build up new series or growing series on new nights. Obviously, Thursday is the best place to start since it is the supposed most competitive night around. Big Bang is followed by Bleep My Dad Says, so obviously the network A.) has some faith in this stupid new series or B.) just assumes people will watch anything after Big Bang Theory. I’m actually a little surprised that CBS didn’t swap CSI: and The Mentalist as a way to preserve the newer series, but I’ve read that the changes in the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour were enough difference on the week’s most important night.

FRIDAY
8 p.m.  Medium
9:00     CSI: NY
10:00   Blue Bloods

Thoughts: Again we see the network moving a larger name to a weaker spot, as the New York edition of CSI: heads to Fridays at 9 p.m., which is becoming a fairly competitive timeslot on its own. Glad to see Medium survive and Blue Bloods looks very, very boring. I wonder if CBS will really dominate the night with the CSI: connection there now.

SATURDAY
8 p.m.  Crimetime Saturday
9:00     Crimetime Saturday
10:00   48 Hours

Thoughts: What the hell is Crimetime Saturday?

SUNDAY
7 p.m.   60 Minutes
8:00     The Amazing Race
9:00     Undercover Boss
10:00   CSI: Miami

Thoughts: And here is where Miami lands after being booted from its cozy Monday timeslot. More Undercover Boss!

MIDSEASON: Criminal Minds 2

Thoughts: What a horrible title! And if this series didn’t get ordered to fall, that means that really no one even at CBS cares about it or thinks it has a chance to be that good. Who knew that diluting all your main brands would be a problem?!

Even though I don’t watch much of anything on CBS, I can’t help but respect its scheduling choices here. The Eyeball is acting aggressively and is definitely unwilling to let its old series die a slow death without building up lots of new ones to replace them. Though I am not impressed with any of its new series, the fact that the network was willing to move some of its aging ones in hopes of creating new hits is something to respect. This is how to stay on top in the broadcast television game.

Other schedule analysis:

NBC

FOX

ABC

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