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Sunday, March 16, 2014

WEEKEND REWIND: CBS 2001-02 Season

CBS 2001-02
Things were turning around for CBS in the early 2000s thanks to two mammoth Thursday hits: Survivor and CSI. They also had a solid Monday comedy lineup and other reliable performers like JAG, Judging Amy, and The District. All in all, this was the beginning of a very stable era for CBS that continues today. They didn't find many new success stories this year but they did get a long term performer in The Amazing Race, which is still on today.

Check out ABC's Weekend Rewind for 2001-02

Mondays
(Sep 24-Mar 11)
8:00 The King of Queens
8:30 Yes, Dear
9:00 Everybody Loves Raymond
9:30 Becker (starting Oct 1)
10:00 Family Law (through Mar 4)

(Mar 11-Apr 22)
8:00 Yes, Dear (Apr 8-22)
8:30 Baby Bob
9:00 Everybody Loves Raymond
9:30 Becker
10:00 Family Law (through Apr 15) 

(Apr 29-May 20)
8:00 The King of Queens
8:30 Yes, Dear (through May 13)
9:00 Everybody Loves Raymond
9:30 Becker
10:00 Various Programming
"Baby Bob"
CBS spent most of the year with the same lineup it had in 2000-01. Mega-hit comedy Everybody Loves Raymond was surrounded by compatible and steady family comedies The King of Queens and Yes, Dear as well as Ted Danson's Becker. In the spring, Yes, Dear and then The King of Queens each took a short hiatus while CBS premiered Baby Bob. Based on a character from commercials for freeinternet.com, the show was widely panned. Why do networks think making a show based on a commercial is a good idea? ABC learned the same lesson a few years later with Cavemen. Despite the universal scorn from critics, Baby Bob managed to get a second season thanks to its stellar timeslot. However, that season did not air until the summer of 2003 in burn-off mode. Family Law aired at 10pm until the middle of April but it was cancelled after three seasons despite making the Top 30. The show lasted longer than the couple one season shows that had preceded it in the timeslot, but it never made much of an impact. Plus, CBS had plans on Monday night for the CSI spinoff that became CSI: Miami.

Tuesdays
8:00 JAG
9:00 The Guardian
10:00 Judging Amy
"The Guardian"
CBS kept its 8pm and 10pm hour the same with the steady JAG and critically acclaimed Judging Amy. The new 9pm drama was The Guardian. The Pittsburgh-set legal drama starred a pre-The Mentalist Simon Baker as an ex-drug addict required to do community service in the legal realm. The show, also starring Dabney Coleman, was another one of those so-so performers like Family Law and it managed a modest three season run. Baker, of course, came back to CBS in 2008 on the more successful The Mentalist.

Wednesdays
(Sep 26-Dec 5)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 The Amazing Race
10:00 Wolf Lake (through Oct 24)

(Dec 12-Feb 27)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 Various Programming

(Mar 6-May 15)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 The Amazing Race (starting Mar 13)
10:00 48 Hours (through May 8)
"The Amazing Race"
CBS revamped Wednesday nights after failed sitcoms and a movie didn't work the previous season. 60 Minutes II moved over from Tuesday and took over the 8pm slot. At 9pm, they launched the new The Amazing Race. After Survivor and Big Brother, this was the third CBS reality show launched in the early 2000s that became an institution on the network. Race had modest beginnings though as it didn't do all that well, but CBS was patient with it. It never became anything like Survivor but the fact that it's still on TV in 2014 is a testament to its staying power. It aired in two cycles just as it usually does with various programming and movies filling the in-between time. The new 10pm entry was Wolf Lake, a drama about a group of werewolves living outside Seattle. The show lasted only five episodes. When CBS cancelled, UPN picked up the unaired episodes but didn't make any more. It was replaced by lots of specials and random airings until 48 Hours added a regular second edition on Wednesday nights in March.

Thursdays
(Sep 27-Jan 17)
8:00 Survivor (starting Oct 4)
9:00 CSI
10:00 The Agency

(Jan 24-Feb 21)
8:00 CSI (encores)
9:00 CSI (through Feb 7)
10:00 The Agency

(Feb 28-May 16)
8:00 Survivor
9:00 CSI
10:00 The Agency (through May 9)
"The Agency"
Thursday nights were set from 8-10pm with the hugely successful pairing of Survivor and CSI. Survivor would never again reach the heights of its second season in spring of 2001 but it was still a mega-hit. And CSI was just getting stronger in its second season. CBS needed a strong 10pm show to go with these two and Big Apple didn't cut it. They tried The Agency this year. Starring Beau Bridges, Gil Bellows, Will Patton, Daniel Benzali, Rocky Carroll, and others, the show was about the inner workings of the CIA. It had the interesting timing of being all about national security and premiering right after 9/11. In fact, the first episode actually had to do with Al Qaeda but it was shelved temporarily. The show maybe benefited from its unplanned timeliness, but it still didn't do enough to stay in the Thursday 10pm slot. It did get a second season on Saturday though. CSI repeats bridged the gap between the two Survivor editions but that was the only change to this lineup.

Fridays
(Sep 28-Oct 19)
8:00 The Ellen Show
8:30 Danny (through Oct 5)
9:00 That's Life
10:00 48 Hours

(Oct 26-Nov 16)
8:00 Various Programming
8:30 The Ellen Show
9:00 That's Life
10:00 48 Hours

(Nov 30-Jan 11)
8:00 Various Programming
8:30 The Ellen Show (Dec 28-Jan 11)
9:00 That's Life
10:00 48 Hours

(Jan 28-Mar 8)
8:00 Various Programming
9:00 First Monday
10:00 48 Hours

(Mar 29-May 10)
8:00 AFP: American Fighter Pilot (through Apr 5)
9:00 First Monday (through May 3)
10:00 48 Hours
"The Ellen Show"
CBS made another attempt to carve out a comedy presence on Friday night in 2001-02. Ellen DeGeneres returned to TV after her groundbreaking ABC series Ellen. In The Ellen Show, DeGeneres also played a gay character, but it was less of a focus. Co-starring Jim Gaffigan, Martin Mull, and Cloris Leachman, it couldn't find an audience on Fridays despite numerous attempts by CBS. They tried to air it on Monday here and there and DeGeneres' had a widely acclaimed hosting turn at the Emmys after 9/11, but it didn't translate to viewers. It didn't help that it was paired with an instant bomb in Danny, a family sitcom starring Daniel Stern and Joely Fisher. The show lasted all of two episodes. When it was cancelled, Ellen slid to 8:30pm following repeats or specials. Then it was on hiatus for awhile before being given one last ditch effort in January, after which CBS abandoned the comedy block entirely. In late March, CBS tried the reality show AFP: American Fighter Pilot but it was cancelled after two weeks. Perhaps trying to capitalize on the post-9/11 patriotism, the show didn't connect. The 9pm hour was also failed shows mixed with repeats and specials. The first attempt was season two of That's Life. The show had been narrowly renewed from the season before but it only aired half a season before it was gone. Then in January, CBS premiered First Monday, a legal drama about the Supreme Court and starring Joe Mantegna, James Garner, and Charles Durning. It seems like there were a lot of legal/political shows at this time. The show aired its full 13 episodes but didn't see a second season. All year long, 48 Hours aired at 10pm. 

Saturdays
(Sep 29-Nov 10)
8:00 Touched by an Angel
9:00 Citizen Baines
10:00 The District

(Dec 15-May 11)
8:00 Touched by an Angel
9:00 Various Programming
10:00 The District
"Citizen Baines"
After five years on Sunday nights, Touched by an Angel returned to Saturdays this season. The show had gone from almost cancelled to a Top 10 hit to an old-skewing show that needed to go back to a lower pressure slot. Adding Valerie Bertinelli to the cast, it did alright enough on its old night to get one more season. It was initially followed by Citizen Baines, a family drama starring James Cromwell as an ex-senator who returns home to Seattle with his grown daughters. The show lasted just six episodes and CBS never found another show to air in the 9pm slot as repeats of Touched by an Angel, The District, and The Agency aired for the rest of the season. The District continued to air new episodes at 10pm all season.

Sundays
7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 The Education of Max Bickford (through Apr 21)
9:00 Sunday Night Movie 
"The Education of Max Bickford"
Except for one ill-fated comedy block in 1995-96, CBS Sunday nights had been either Murder She Wrote or Touched by an Angel, surrounded by 60 Minutes and a movie, for almost two decades. When Angel moved to Saturdays, they needed a new 8pm drama and they followed in the gentle, family-friendly format that made Murder and Angel such big hits. The Education of Max Bickford seemed like a great fit for the night. Starring Richard Dreyfuss as a professor at an all women's college and co-starring Marcia Gay Harden, it aired a full season but was one and done. This was probably the most high profile failure of the season for CBS as they hoped it would be the next landmark Sunday show. They went back to comedy in this hour for 2002-03.

CBS 2001-02 Stats

Shows in the Top 30
2. CSI
4. Everybody Loves Raymond
6. Survivor
11. Becker
13. 60 Minutes
14. JAG
16. Judging Amy
19. The King of Queens
20. Yes, Dear
22. The Guardian
25. Baby Bob
30. 60 Minutes II/Family Law

Fall Shows Survival: 3/8 (38%)
The Amazing Race, The Guardian, The Agency

Midseason Shows Survival: 1/3 (33%)
Baby Bob

Total New Shows Survival Rate: 4/11 (36%)

Cancelled/Ended Series
Family Law (3 seasons)
That's Life (2 seasons)
Wolf Lake/The Education of Max Bickford/The Ellen Show/Danny/Citizen Baines/First Monday/AFP: American Fighter Pilot (1 season)

Emmy Award Nominees & Winners (Major Categories)
CSI (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Comedy Series)
Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series)
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond (WINNER, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series)
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series)
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series)
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond (WINNER, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond (WINNER, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series) 

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