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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

UPFRONTS 2011: CBS's Official Fall Schedule

And finally CBS's schedule is here. For the most part, it is quite consistent but there are a few major changes.

8:00 How I Met Your Mother (7th season)
9:00 Two and a Half Men (9th season)
9:30 Mike & Molly (2nd season)
10:00 Hawaii Five-0 (2nd season)
CBS is mostly keeping the status quo on Mondays while trying another new show in the 8:30pm slot that has been troublesome recently. 2 Broke Girls could do alright but many thought Mike & Molly will and should side up to this slot. Instead, they will leave the 9pm hour the same with Ashton Kutcher taking over for Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. It should get a lot of early interest but will the show be able to return to the level it had before the Sheen fiasco? Mike & Molly may finally be able to grow as it had no help this spring after showing promise in the fall. And to no surprise, Hawaii Five-0 will continue to close out the night where it will have one less procedural to compete with since NBC is going with The Playboy Club

8:00 NCIS (9th season)
9:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (3rd season)
Many thought there would be a new drama on Tuesday nights and there is. Some thought they would slide NCIS: Los Angeles back to 10pm and put a new drama at 9pm but that will not be the case as they are leaving the first two hours in tact. They are sending The Good Wife elsewhere though and launching Unforgettable at 10pm. The problem is that show sounds more compatible with The Good Wife than the NCIS shows and its definitely the same audience as ABC's Body of Proof. It's surprising CBS didn't go with a more action oriented show here. 

8:00 Survivor (23rd/24th Edition)
9:00 Criminal Minds (7th season)
10:00 CSI (12th season)
CBS is going with a trio of veteran shows on Wednesday night. Survivor and Criminal Minds stay put after Survivor experienced a successful transition from Thursday to Wednesday this past season. Another Thursday show will be joining them as CSI finally makes the move after anchoring the Thursday 9pm slot since February 2000. Just like Survivor last year though, it's time and CBS may finally be able to stabilize the Weds 10pm slot which has been troublesome this season.

8:00 The Big Bang Theory (5th season)
10:00 The Mentalist (4th season)
CBS is making some changes to the night while leaving the start and end the same. After The Big Bang Theory, they will air the comedy How to Be a Gentleman, which on paper seems more compatible with Two and a Half Men than The Big Bang Theory. As mentioned, CSI is on the move and taking the place with big shoes to fill is CBS's most hyped new drama Person of Interest. It should do well in this slot against aging veterans on the other big three networks. The Mentalist stays put at 10pm which is smart. Some thought it would go to 9pm but why mess with the strongest 10pm show this side of The Voice?

9:00 CSI: NY (8th season)
10:00 Blue Bloods (2nd season)
CBS is keeping things the same from 9-11pm on Fridays after CSI: NY and Blue Bloods helped stabilize the night for them. The 8pm hour was a big problem for CBS this season though and they will try another new show in the slot with A Gifted Man. Regardless of quality, this show will be a tough sell in this timeslot and I'm not sure it's the answer. Maybe unscripted or a veteran drama would have been best here.

8:00 Rules of Engagement (6th season)
8:30 Comedy Repeats
9:00 Drama Repeats
10:00 48 Hours Mystery (25th season)
Saturdays has one of the biggest surprises as the comedy Rules of Engagement will have a regular timeslot on the night. It's been years since a scripted show that wasn't being burned off was placed on this night. Either CBS is just trying to increase episode numbers for syndication or they're taking baby steps towards putting more programming on Saturday night. It will be very interesting to see if Rules can get any traction in this slot.

7:00 60 Minutes (44th season)
8:00 The Amazing Race (19th edition)
9:00 The Good Wife (3rd season)
10:00 CSI: Miami (10th season)
CBS is sticking with veteran shows on Sunday night but bringing The Good Wife over from Tuesdays. Although it could be good counter programming to football and Family Guy, it does feel sort of plopped down in this timeslot. Still, CBS doesn't really have another show like The Good Wife what with all its crime procedurals so this slot might be as good a place as any. The rest of the night remains the same with Undercover Boss being held for midseason.

MIDSEASON: Undercover Boss, THE 2-2
CBS doesn't have much planned for midseason at this point but if things go bad in the fall, it wouldn't be surprising to see them pull something out of their hat. Reportedly, the Rob Schnieder comedy is still in contention for a midseason slot. Both these shows can fill in where needed.

CANCELLED: Chaos, Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, The Defenders, Live to Dance, Mad Love, Medium, $#*! My Dad Says
No big surprises on this list - the one that had the best shot of returning was Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior but CBS had more than enough dramas on its hand. ABC, NBC, and FOX each brought back two freshman from this past season but CBS will bring back three - Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0, and Blue Bloods bringing the grand total across the four networks to 9 survivors from the 2010-2011 freshman class.

CBS is playing it somewhat safe after some big moves last spring and that's ok with a few big ifs. If Two and a Half Men can return to or near its former strength, if the new dramas at 10pm Tuesday and 9pm Thursday can improve on their predecessor's numbers, and if the aging shows don't drop much, CBS will be fine. However, those are tall orders especially for Men and 10pm Tuesday. We'll see but CBS slipped a bit this spring and their pilots are not nearly as buzzworthy as ABC, NBC, or FOX. That doesn't always matter but they also don't seem as on brand for CBS. It really needs to be one or the other for them or there could be some problems.   

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