CBS is the most solid network wall to wall. Old story. We all know it. They have very few holes every season. Shows that would be big hits on other networks get cancelled by CBS. That will continue as they set their fall schedule this spring. But a few recent downturns by long running shows of theirs have me thinking early about some possible scheduling moves for the ’13-’14 season. I am aware this is very premature. Lots of things can change between now and May – and they will. I’m sure I will have some different things to say in the spring. But a few things seem fairly certain at this point:
I expect CBS to use their strong Mon lineup to launch a new 10p drama:
Hawaii 5-0 is a hit by any networks standards. After one more season it will be in reruns ad nauseam on TNT (and likely weekend syndication). But there’s no doubt that is isn’t at the level of CBSs other procedural smashes. This fall, while DWTS was having its worst season to date, there were many weeks when Castle would beat H5-0 in the demo. Even last week, with CBS having almost a point advantage over ABC at 9:30, H5-0 only bested Castle by .3 in the demo. For perspective, 13-year-old CSI is getting mid to high 2′s every Wednesday. I think CBS knows they can do better and will likely move the show next season. I think the most likely space for it would be after The Amazing Race on Sunday. Football overruns go to almost 8p many Sundays and this type of action adventure show would flow well with the adventurous reality show, There is a chance CBS may want to try something new on Sunday, but for the moment I’ll assume that’s a strong possibility for H5-0. I think CBS might possibly put their Beverly Hills Cop show on Monday at 10p. It’s a CBS procedural but with more comedic overtones and might be a great fit with their comedy lineup. Plus Eddie Murphy appearances wont hurt. It’s also possible CBS loves this show so much that they want to launch it somewhere at 9p - Sun, Tues? Whatever the outcome, I do expect CBS will try something new Mon at 10p next season.
Does CBS have 3 hours of NCIS on their Tues Schedule?
CBS has another NCIS spinoff being developed for next season. Like most of their spinoffs it will air as an episode of the mothership this spring (backdoor pilot). CBS has picked up every proposed spinoff of all their big procedural franchises (CSI, NCIS, even Criminal Minds). I think we all expect this to be on their fall sked. They can probably attract big names to it, since let’s face it, an NCIS show is as close to steady employment as you can get (though of course, like everything in TV, no guarantee). I believe CBS put this in development once they saw how Vegas was performing this fall. Tue at 10 has remained a rare slot for them that hasn’t popped. I’ve long thought they should move NCIS:LA to 10p and put a new drama at 9p, but I don’t think they felt they had the right show for that. With another show from the NCIS universe they certainly do and they can either air the new show at 9p or 10p with LA moving down if necessary. Some will say that even 3 hours of NCIS on one night is overkill. On another network I might agree. On CBS, it just might be a way to extend their Tue dominance to all 3 hours. I guess I just don’t see them greenlighting a new NCIS show to air that on Sun or Mon (though that’s certainly a possibility). After all, they havent moved the spinoff to lead another night in all 4 seasons. They see the show airing after the mothership as a way of maintaining that shows strength. I think 3 hours of NCIS helps them fill a tough time period and make promoting that night very easy.
CBS should Leave Wednesday As Is:
Such a strong night for CBS, interestingly so, with 2 of the oldest shows on their schedule (and on TV), in Survivor and CSI. Many weeks CSI is their strongest performing 10p drama. They shouldnt mess with what is working.
I still maintain CBS should expand to 4 comedies on Thu:
I have been saying this early last season and many other have expected them to do this by now as well. Word is, CBS felt they didn’t have strong enough comedies to expand this season. The fact that only one new comedy (Partners) will be on their schedule this entire season confirms that. Their smart scheduling did accomplish something major. It made Two And A Half Men a very strong comedy again. It was in the mid 3s last spring. If it was still on Monday (even at 8:30), it likely would have remained in the 3s. By airing it after TBBT, it has grown a full point and will likely see another season instead of ending this May. That helps CBS move TBBT to 9p where if is possible, will get even higher numbers than the 6′s its currently getting and lets 2.5 Men be their 8p anchor. We know one multi cam show that is all but assured on their sked next season – Mom - Anna Farris and Allison Janney make this interesting enough, but being a Chuck Lorre show guarantees it a go. I could see this airing at 9:30 post TBBT, with another one of their strongest pilots at 8:30. Will 8p be lower with 2.5 Men and a new comedy than it currently is? Yes, but it won’t do any worse than PoI is doing at 9p currently, plus the gains made at 9p will more than offset it and it helps Elementary continue to grow at 10p with a huge 9p show. Where does Person Of Interest go? Well prior to NCIS Volume 3, I think it would have done wonderfully Tue at 10p. But I could see CBS shifting it to Sun at 9p. With NFL overruns, this could be a good CBS sked post 60 Minutes: The Amazing Race-Person Of Interest-Hawaii 5-0
What Happens with The Good Wife?
The Good Wife hit a series low this Sun with a 1.5. In reality, the show has been in the 1.7 area all fall even with 20 plus million viewers til 8p every other week with NFL overruns. CBS still has a strong Sun average many Sundays in the fall solely because of the overruns and one might say they can afford to nurture a lower rated prestige show, but CBS is still uber competitive and even with the Emmys and acclaim I am sure they think they can do better and will attempt to shore up the Sunday lineup somehow next season. It is still possible they move The Good Wife down to 10p (and in the fall it probably wont air in primetime most weeks), but something tells me they might move it to Friday where it if gets anywhere close to what it gets on Sunday, it can run for a few more year much more easily than if it was on another night of the week. CBS could do quite well with a Friday lineup of Undercover Boss-Blue Bloods- The Good Wife. Let’s be honest, CBS wouldn’t be renewing any other show that got a 1.5 on Sunday against minimal competition (like this Sun). But TGW is a rare prestige drama for them, one that puts them on Emmy ballots. CBS being so strong overall puts them in a position where they can afford to keep this show on their schedule and on Friday it can for years with anyone having to worry about it dragging them down ratings wise. Plus together with Blue Bloods you have two smart, adult skewing shows that should do well together on Fri night.
Where does that Leave the Other shows?
We all assume CSI:NY signs off after a 9 year run this spring. I personally think Vegas will join it. That just leaves The Mentalist. I would not have thought a strong procedural like this on CBS would be vulnerable only 5 years into its run, but it got a 1.9 against minimal competition this Sunday. One could argue that it had to build out of the 1.5 from TGW at 9p and they would be correct. H5-0 isn’t doing much better on Monday and they have a show with a 3.0 leading into it. I still CBS holding on to this show. Maybe they pair it with Blue Bloods on Friday and hold TGW for midseason or Vice versa. All 3 dramas would make a nice Fri lineup from 8-11, but Undercover Boss has shown that they can pull close to a 2.0 at 8p and I sooner see CBS rotating the two current Sunday dramas then giving up a 2.0 at 8p, but I could be wrong. My gut says The Mentalist is back – maybe as a midseason replacement, but it’s back.