CBS overhauls schedule for fall
(Update: Check out clips of CBS's new fall shows.)
CBS suddenly became the most interesting chick at the party Wednesday with a major makeover that involves moving geek-com "Big Bang Theory" to Thursday, reality hit "Survivor" to Wednesday, David Caruso's "CSI: Miami" to Sunday and "CSI: NY" to Friday.
Also causing a kerfuffle Wednesday: CBS has ended longterm relationships with "Ghost Whisperer," "Cold Case," "New Adventures of Old Christine," and "Numb3rs" and also dumped Jenna Elfman's "Accidentally on Purpose," Jerry Bruckheimer's "Miami Medical, and Jay Mohr's "Gary Unmarried."
"We call it The Network Circle of Life," CBS's scheduling chief Kelly Kahl told open-jawed reporters at the network's traditional Upfront Week breakfast, Lox with Les, at which it unveils its schedule to reporters. That's "Les" as in Moonves, head of CBS, who was in attendance, because nobody does press better.
"I was surprised...that you were surprised," at the massive changes being made to CBS's schedule, Moonves chided the reporters munching on scrambled eggs and bacon at CBS's Black Rock headquarters. You could tell he was relishing their surprise at his net's new schedule -- these same reporters who for years have nicked his network as being stodgy, old, and stuck in the mud and slow to change, among other things. Now it was the reporters who seemed stodgy and stuck in the mud.
One reporter wondered whether the CBS viewer (that's a euphamism for old person) who is a fan of "CSI: Miami," (moved to Sunday) "CSI: NY" (moved to Friday ), "Survivor" (moved to Wednesday), or "Big Bang Theory" (now on Thursday) will be able to find their beloved show in its new timeslot. The reporter noted that "timeslot" may not matter so much these days, what with DVR's and all, but seemed to suggest CBS viewers might not be as comfortable with the new fangled technology as other TV viewers.
"Our viewers are smart," Kahl shot back, adding, "our viewers know how to use DVRs -- 'The Mentalist' is the number one DVR-ed show on television."
This appeared to be news to most of the reporters in the room.
Anyway, it shut them up.
After trying in vain to open a second night of comedy on Wednesdays, CBS finally decided NBC didn't have the copyright on a Thursday comedy block and is moving its hit "Big Bang Theory" to 8 that night.
"If you're going to do this you've got to have a big stick," Kahl explained, noting "BB" has been "on fire" this season in the ratings. "BB" will be followed by new "$#*! My Dad Says" starring William Shatner as the outspoken father of an out-of-work writer who's moved back home. The show is based on the Twitter feed of Hollywood writer Justin Halpern who, in fact, moved back home when he was unemployed and started tweeting his dad's more outrageous comments.
Oh, and on-the-air, CBS's announcer will call the show "Bleep my Dad Says," according to CBS programming chief Nina Tassler.
The Thursday move was made possible when CBS and production company Warner Bros. were able to renew "Two and a Half Men" by renewing its star, Charlie Sheen, to the tune of $2 million an epsiode. One reporter wondered why the two companies had brought the actor back.
"Because the show is called 'Two and a Half Men'," Tassler shot back. "He's a big star."
On Tuesday, ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel told advertisers of the CBS sitcom: "Tomorrow you will hear that Charlie Sheen has signed for another season of 'Two and a Half Men.' Charlie Sheen is a genius. He really is and I'll tell you why: You're on a family sitcom on CBS. You get arrested for threatening your wife with a knife on Christmas, which happens to be Jesus's birthday by the way. So how do you handle a public-relations nightmare like that? You call your agent and you demand $2 million an episode or you're not coming back. And you get it. Tiger Woods must feel like a real dumbass right now."
Anyway, getting back to CBS's new schedule: where the network has tried in vain for years to open a second comedy block -- Wednesdays at 8 -- the network is instead moving its Sunday reality series "Survivor."
"With this move, we're going to get better at 8 right out of the box," Kahl forecast.
Three new dramas have been put into 10 o'clock timeslots across the week. They include a remake of campy "Hawaii Five-0," which is taking "CSI: Miami's spot on Mondays. It stars Alex O'Loughlin, who is one of the newer members of the Leslie Moonves Reperatory Theatre. The network has already tried to get America to embrace this guy three times without success -- "Moonlight," "Three Rivers," and, most recently, the CBS flick "The Back-Up Plan" and eventually you're going to stop fighting it.
Vegas lawyer bromance series "The Defenders," is taking on 10 on Wednesdays, and Tom Selleck is back in cop drama "Blue Bloods" on Fridays.
To make way for these new shows, "CSI: Miami" has moved to Sunday at 10 and "CSI: NY" to Friday at 9.
CBS was the last network to program Fridays with original scripted programming but this year its ratings on the night plunged 20 percent. "Ghost Whisperer" is out and "CSI:NY" will bring "more male-female" viewer balance, Kahl forecast. And "having Tom Selleck will certainly attract attention" at 10 in "Blue Bloods," Tassler predicted.
Here's CBS's new schedule.
(new shows in bold)
8 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
8:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
9 p.m. Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m. Mike & Molly
10 p.m. Hawaii Five-O
8 p.m. NCIS
9 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles
10 p.m. The Good Wife
8 p.m. Survivor*
9 p.m. Criminal Minds
10 p.m. The Defenders
8 p.m. The Big Bang Theory*
8:30 p.m. $#*! My Dad Says
9 p.m. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
10 p.m. The Mentalist
8 p.m. Medium*
9 p.m. CSI: NY*
10 p.m. Blue Bloods
8 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
9 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
10 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery
7 p.m. 60 Minutes
8 p.m. The Amazing Race
9 p.m. Undercover Boss
10 p.m. CSI: Miami*
*moved to a new timeslot
[This blog entry has been updated]
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