Here are some brief CBS thoughts and in their case I’d like to talk about how it impacts the other nets, because let’s face it, they are #1 and the last successful traditional broadcaster so their moves definitely have a big impact on the other big 3 nets.
I have been wondering out loud for the better part of a year and a half why CBS hasn’t done a 4 comedy lineup on Thu. In the last few weeks, just looking at the Thu overnights on Fri mornings it seemed clear to me that they absolutely must. They have a ratings behemoth in The Big Bang Theory at 8. Nothing on network TV comes close to it and yet from 9-11 they lose in the demo to ABC. Not even close in the demo and that’s with ABC getting a low 1.0 at 8p. So kudos to CBS for shaking things up on Thu.
I don’t quite comprehend why they’re not moving TBBT to 9p. Not only will this make that show even bigger and clearly the #1 9p show by a mile, but it could possibly help expose more people to Elementary, a show they clearly want to be a huge franchise and syndication opportunity for them. Instead they are leaving it at 8 and launching two new sitcoms from 8:30-9:30. The 9p show, Crazy Ones, while starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar is single cam, a genre they haven’t been able to make work as yet. Yes, it has stars in it, but in TV “the medium makes the stars”, not the other way around. There have been many a big star make the move to TV and it not work out (just ask Dennis Quaid whose CBS show just got cancelled after 21 eps). It’s more than likely Crazy Ones is hysterical and terrific, but it’s still a question mark, as is the great sounding The Millers. If I’m CBS. why would I want to give other nets the opportunity to make some ground after TBBT is over. Two and Half Men was getting lower numbers last year at 9p Monday than it is now on Thu. It is clearly being helped by airing after TBBT. Airing at 9:30 after a new show doesn’t guarantee that it will still be a mid 3.0 show, especially with hits on other nets.
I also think this schedule helps NBC tremendously. After TBBT ends at 8:30, NBC has three high-profile, mass appeal, new shows that will get ample promotional support. CBS airing two newbies from 8:30-9:30, no matter how good, is still a question mark. At the unveiling of their fall sked this morning, the esteemed Mr. Moonves said “I’m not quite sure people understand how big The Big Bang Theory is”. I do, Mr. Moonves, and my follow up would be why isn’t it on at 9. It’s so huge it would only do better at 9 and help your entire Thu sked. You could have done this:
8p- 2.5 Men
8:30 The Millers
9:30 Crazy Ones
All the same shows but scheduled to help the 8p and 10p shows get an extra piece of TBBT halo. This Monday HIMYM and 2BG bumped up to their best ratings in weeks. It was their season finales, but I’m sure the TBBT rerun at 8:30 didn’t hurt.
Let me break it down another way with the caveat that Crazy Ones will likely work but as always with TV, there’s no guarantee: With TBBT at 9p CBS kills at 9p. With Crazy Ones there, it’s still a question mark. Crazy Ones would more than likely have a better shot at doing better out of TBBT at 9:30. Here’s why:
A) It’s still a new show and no amount of stars is ever a guarantee it becomes a hit AND it’s in their anchor position.
B) It’s single cam which CBS has no history of having a hit with recently.
C) It’s airing out of another new show at 8:30 (one that’s a multi cam, so tonal shift too!)
I think this Thu sked, while smart and what they needed to do, misses just a bit in terms of maximum impact it could have had. Now NBC with their comedy newbies have more than a fighting chance on Thu and a multi cam with Sean Hayes at 9p (very CBS) has a good shot against a new CBS single cam (jury’s still out if their audience will go for that).
TBBT at 9p would help Elementary grow more against a very strong Scandal (Last week Scandal beat Elementary 3.2-1.9). Now it’s over at 8:30 and that possible halo is long gone.
Look, they’re CBS and in all likelihood Crazy Ones will be a hit and CBS will be up over year to year, but all I see when I look at the Thu sked is a big step in the right direction, but it could have been so much bigger. NBC has a smart Thu sked that could have at least one breakout comedy hit, maybe more. ABC scheduling Wonderland there as the only female skewing drama on the big 4, also looks like they made a great scheduling decision as well.
I commend CBS for moving PoI to Tue at 10 and as I suggested in Jan, they have a very cohesive Tue sked. I think NBC will benefit again here, as Chicago Fire was already a self-starter on Wed. Now it has The Voice and it’s technically the most traditional drama in the hour. It could pick up some CBS viewers. I definitely think that show will grow in year 2. I commend all three nets for finally attacking Tue. No one is sitting back.
I still wonder why CBS didn’t try to put a new show or stronger returning one Sun at 9, but with football overruns til 8p many weeks, they’ll likely be very strong on their one weaker night with regular shows. So they win anyway. They stand pat with their acclaimed The Good Wife and get nice ad rates. The CBS way, they win anyway. (It really makes me wonder even more why ABC didn’t put Resurrection at 9 and Revenge at 10)
With CBS and NBC both having big ambitious shows Mon at 10, ABC does looks smart by leaving Castle there. This show is already winning Mon at 10 (Hawaii 5-0 was just moved to Fri since it was coming in 3rd on Monday) and is the most traditional show here. New viewers are finding it on TNT. It’s not crazy to think some CBS viewers might migrate over to ABC at 10. It’s worth remembering that in the fall Revolution was handily beating Castle and by the end fo the season, Castle is winning despite NBC having a 2 point advantage at 9:30.
Overall, as usual, a smart CBS sked and one likely to be up over last year on a number of nights (Tue, Thu) but one that also makes me think they could have made it even stronger. As of now, when I see their sked I also see opportunities for other nets to make ground.