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Sunday, April 20, 2014

WEEKEND REWIND: CBS 2003-04 Season

CBS 2003-04
Year by year, CBS was building a lineup full of solid hits. This past year, they added CSI: Miami,  Without a Trace, and Still Standing, all of which cracked the Top 30. This year was huge for them. They only launched eight shows but three turned into big hits: NCIS, Two and a Half Men, and Cold Case. Two of those are still on today and have been cornerstones of the CBS lineup for a decade.

Check out my ABC Weekend Rewind from 2003-04

8:00 Yes, Dear
8:30 Still Standing
9:00 Everybody Loves Raymond
9:30 Two and a Half Men
10:00 CSI: Miami
"Two and a Half Men"
Monday nights remained steady as can be all season. With The King of Queens on the move to Wednesdays, Yes, Dear slid up to the 8pm slot and was paired with Still Standing in its second season. It wasn't the strongest hour but it was serviceable. Yes, Dear was only renewed for a midseason order after this year. Everybody Loves Raymond continued to dominate at 9pm but CBS needed to find a new anchor because Raymond was getting old. They did just that when they launched Two and a Half Men. The vulgar sitcom starring Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer was an instant hit with viewers and a departure from the gentler family sitcoms that were all over the CBS lineup. Men was one of the most recent comedies to be a smash hit out of the gates and it's still going strong in its 11th season now. CSI: Miami continued to be a strong performer at 10pm.

(Sep 23-Mar 9)
8:00 NCIS
9:00 The Guardian
10:00 Judging Amy

(Mar 16-30)
8:00 NCIS
9:00 Century City

10:00 Judging Amy

(Apr 6-May 18)
8:00 NCIS
9:00 The Guardian (through May 4)
10:00 Judging Amy
JAG was on the move to Fridays and in its place on Tuesdays was a spinoff, a little show called NCIS. The Mark Harmon starring crime drama didn't make a big splash in its first couple years but it was a decent enough performer. Over time though, it became the most watched drama on TV, which it still holds today in its 11th season. Just like Men on Mondays, CBS struck gold with this show but it wasn't apparent from the beginning. It was only getting 11-12 million viewers in its first season and now it gets 17-20 million viewers. Hard to believe considering how much overall viewing has gone down in the decade since its premiere. 9pm and 10pm continued to be The Guardian and Judging Amy. For a very brief time in March, The Guardian was replaced by Century City, a futuristic drama set in 2030 in Los Angeles starring Nestor Campbell and Viola Davis. The show lasted just a couple weeks before it was yanked and The Guardian was back. However, CBS felt they could upgrade on the night and cancelled The Guardian at the end of the season after three years. 

(Sep 24-Nov 26)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 The King of Queens (starting Oct 1)
9:30 Becker (starting Oct 8)
10:00 The Brotherhood of Poland, NH (through Oct 22)

(Dec 3-Mar 10)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 The King of Queens
9:30 Becker (through Jan 28)
10:00 48 Hours

(Mar 17-May 19)
8:00 60 Minutes II
9:00 The King of Queens
9:30 The Stones (through Mar 31)
10:00 48 Hours
"The Brotherhood of Poland, NH"
CBS revamped Wednesdays yet again but things didn't really get better. 60 Minutes II slid back up to 8pm where it had been at times the previous year. CBS tried a new comedy hour at 9pm with veteran sitcoms The King of Queens and Becker. King survived and did pretty well in its new Wednesday slot but Becker was already on the decline and this just sped up the process. It was cancelled after 13 episodes, ending its six season run. Aside from a very brief (three episode) midseason run of new sitcom The Stones starring Judith Light, the 9:30pm slot was a rotating wheel of repeats of comedies. The 10pm hour was initially given to a new warm family drama The Brotherhood of Poland, NH. Created by David E. Kelley and starring Randy Quaid, John Carroll Lynch, Chris Penn, and Elizabeth McGovern, Brotherhood wasn't along the same lines as the other CBS dramas coming on the air. It didn't fit with the crime procedurals and was yanked after just five episodes. The rest of the season was 48 Hours at 10pm as Wednesday night still didn't have any flow to it.

8:00 Survivor (Sep 25-Dec 11/Feb 5-May 13)
9:00 CSI
10:00 Without a Trace
Thursdays was the top night for CBS with three hit shows: Survivor (in two editions, as usual), CSI, and Without a Trace. There was no reason to mess with this hit lineup.

8:00 Joan of Arcadia
9:00 JAG
10:00 The Handler (through Jan 30)
"Joan of Arcadia"
Friday nights brought a trio of dramas including two newbies. At 8pm was Joan of Arcadia, a family drama about a girl who could see and talk to God. Starring Joe Mantegna, Mary Steenburgen, Amber Tamblyn, and Jason Ritter, the show was critically acclaimed out of the gate and even nominated for an Emmy in its first season. It was a surprise success story on Friday nights but it was short lived as the show only lasted one more year. JAG moved over from Tuesdays and was the first of many CBS dramas to spend its final couple years on Fridays. At 10pm was The Handler, a crime drama set in DC and starring Joe Pantoliano. The show lasted just 14 episodes. When it was cancelled, repeats of other dramas filled the 10pm slot for the rest of the season.

(Sep 27-Dec 20)
8:00 48 Hours (through Nov 29)
9:00 Hack
10:00 The District

(Jan 17-Mar 13)
8:00 Star Search
9:00 Hack
10:00 The District

(Mar 20-May 15)
8:00 Various Programming
10:00 The District (Apr 10-May 1)
Saturday nights were a bit of a mess as this was the last season where CBS really made a serious effort with the night. 48 Hours started at 8pm but was needed on Wednesdays. It was replaced by Star Search for awhile, which floundered in its second season on Saturday nights. 9pm was the second season of Hack, but it was cancelled after year two and the 8pm slot became movies and specials starting in March. 10pm was The District, but it was cancelled at the end of the year after four quiet seasons. This was one of the most unheralded shows to run as long as four years.

7:00 60 Minutes
8:00 Cold Case
9:00 Sunday Night Movie
"Cold Case"
After striking out with comedies the previous season, CBS found a new hit drama to bridge 60 Minutes and the Sunday Night Movie. Just like Murder, She Wrote and Touched by an Angel before it, they found a feel-good drama in Cold Case, a procedural that blended past crimes and present investigations. The show featured many flashbacks and heartwarming moments as it pieced together the puzzle each week. Starring Kathryn Morris and Danny Pino, it became a reliable Sunday night performer for several years.

CBS 2003-04 Stats

Shows in the Top 30
2. CSI
5. Survivor
9. CSI: Miami
10. Everybody Loves Raymond
11. Without a Trace
15. Two and a Half Men
17. Cold Case
18. 60 Minutes
26. NCIS
28. Still Standing

Fall Shows Survival: 4/6 (66%)
Two and a Half Men, NCIS, Joan of Arcadia, Cold Case

Midseason Shows Survival: 0/2

Total New Shows Survival Rate: 4/8 (50%)

Cancelled/Ended Series
Becker (6 seasons)
The District (4 seasons)
The Guardian (3 seasons)
Hack/Star Search (2 seasons)
The Brotherhood of Poland, NH/The Handler/Century City/The Stones (1 season)

Emmy Award Nominees & Winners (Major Categories)
CSI (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Joan of Arcadia (Nominee, Outstanding Drama Series)
Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Comedy Series)
Anthony LaPaglia, Without a Trace (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series)
Amber Tamblyn, Joan of Arcadia (Nominee, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama 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)
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series)
Doris Robert, Everybody Loves Raymond (Nominee, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series)

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