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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

UPFRONTS 2014: CBS' Official Fall Schedule

The last official schedule! But check back next week for my annual Season in Review!

Past Years: 2013   2012   2011

8:00 (Sep) The Big Bang Theory (8th Season)/(Nov) 2 Broke Girls (4th Season)
8:30 Mom (2nd Season)
10:00 NCIS: Los Angeles (6th Season)
For the first time in almost three decades, CBS is not going with at least two hours of comedies and for the first time since the early 1950s, comedies will not air at 9pm. That's right, the timeslot that house I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Murphy Brown, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Two and a Half Men among many others will instead be a drama. But first on the night, CBS will give The Big Bang Theory a few weeks on its old night as football takes over Thursday. They will use it to try to bolster second year sitcom Mom. When Big Bang goes back to Thursdays, 2 Broke Girls will reclaim the 8pm slot it has right now. The sitcoms will lead into the lighthearted drama Scorpion, which CBS feels will flow nicely out of the comedies. The 10pm slot was a huge problem this year so CBS is remedying that by not airing a new drama and instead moving NCIS: Los Angeles after that show had five years following the mothership. It should be a solid performer at 10pm against The Blacklist and Castle as it has had to face tough shows before. This was the right move by CBS.

8:00 NCIS (12th Season)
10:00 Person of Interest (4th Season)
Tuesday nights look awfully similar to this year with one exception. NCIS: Los Angeles has been shipped off to rescue Mondays. In its place is the closest thing CBS could find, literally. The latest NCIS spinoff, NCIS: New Orleans starring Scott Bakula, will snuggle into the Tuesday 9pm slot that has been so good to Los Angeles for years. Rather than making it an all NCIS night, CBS elected to keep Person of Interest at 10pm where it has stabilized a previously tough slot for the network.

8:00 Survivor (29th Edition)
9:00 Criminal Minds (10th Season)
Wednesdays are changed for the first time since 2011 as CSI is gone from the night. Still starting the evening will be longtime stalwarts Survivor and Criminal Minds. The latter show is entering its 10th season and has never known any other timeslot. The new 10pm show is Stalker, which is reportedly very creepy and CBS thinks the creep fans of Criminal Minds will stick around for this one. Since they had a show that seems like it'll work with Criminal Minds, this was a good time to make a move.

8:00 CBS Thursday Night Football

8:00 The Big Bang Theory (8th Season)
8:30 The Millers (2nd Season)
9:00 Two and a Half Men (12th Season)
10:00 Elementary (3rd Season)
Of course the big news going into next season is that CBS will have football on Thursday nights for several weeks. The big move by the network should be handsome dividends in its overall numbers for the year, even though it only goes until the end of October. When the regular lineup returns, it's surprisingly consistent with this year with only new family comedy The McCarthys slipping in for the cancelled The Crazy Ones and Bad Teacher. CBS announced that the upcoming season will be Two and a Half Men's last and they are probably hoping that means increased interest and a better lead-in for McCarthys. The most surprising move, however, is that The Millers gets to keep the 8:30pm slot. Many are speculating that this is more a sign of a bad comedy development season for CBS than a reward for The Millers.

8:00 The Amazing Race (25th Edition)
9:00 Hawaii Five-0 (5th Season)
10:00 Blue Bloods (5th Season)
CBS will barely be messing with its solid Friday lineup. Instead of Undercover Boss or Unforgettable, The Amazing Race moves over from its longtime Sunday home. While this is a sign that the franchise is fading, it also might revitalize the show in a lower pressure slot, just like Boss and Hawaii Five-0 experienced. The successful drama pairing of Hawaii Five-0 and Blue Bloods continues from 9-11pm.

8:00 Encores
10:00 48 Hours (28th Season)

7:00 60 Minutes (47th Season)
9:00 The Good Wife (6th Season)
10:00 CSI (15th Season)
CBS is making some big moves on Sunday nights. Still in place are 60 Minutes, entering its 47th season, and The Good Wife, fresh off a very critically acclaimed year. CBS is trying to find a friend for The Good Wife in Madam Secretary, the "classy" new drama of the year starring Tea Leoni. With elements that feel like The West Wing and Wife, this seemed like a good slot for this show but it'll be tough on weeks when there is no football lead-in. It also will have to deal with delays thanks to NFL overruns. At 10pm is now CSI on its fourth night of its long run. CBS needed a show that can handle NFL overruns that sometimes push a start time close to 11pm and CSI can probably do that. There is a plan for CSI: Cyber to take this slot at some point, but it may be needed elsewhere so we'll see.

MIDSEASON: BATTLE CREEK, CSI: CYBER, THE ODD COUPLE, The Mentalist, Mike & Molly, Undercover Boss
CBS has more on deck for midseason than usual. I already talked about a placement for CSI: Cyber, but it's hard to see where the other shows get slotted unless their freshmen fail because all of the returning shows are pretty established. If the freshmen work, it's possible that at least a couple shows (perhaps Battle Creek and The Mentalist) could be saved for summer 2015.

CANCELLED/ENDED: Bad Teacher, The Crazy Ones, Friends With Better Lives, Hostages, How I Met Your Mother, Intelligence, We Are Men

I think CBS did a nice job with this schedule because they did address some lingering problems like Mondays and Sundays. They also included gave a chance for new shows to succeed in decent slots, particularly Stalker on Wednesdays and NCIS: New Orleans on Tuesdays. It's weird to not see a two hour comedy block on Mondays but that was falling apart when How I Met Your Mother ended. The biggest surprise was that CBS did not pick up How I Met Your Dad, but I think that's the right move because it always seemed like a disaster waiting to happen for me.

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