Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thoughts on CBS Fall 2010 Sked


MONDAY

8:00-8:30 PM HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
8:30-9:00 PM RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
9:00-9:30 PM TWO AND A HALF MEN
9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & MOLLY (N)
10:00-11:00 PM HAWAII FIVE-0 (N)

I was convinced that there were two possibilities for Monday, and I thought both were potentially good ideas. The first was that the Big Bang Theory would move to lead into a new comedy. The second was that CSI: Miami would move so a new drama could have the big lead-in (presumably from BBT). Instead, both things happened. Is that a good idea? Well, their number one new drama (at least that's my sense) now has a bit of a question mark as a lead-in. And 2.5 Men and HIMYM are the two shows lucky enough to remain Monday anchors, while it's the biggest of the bunch that gets risked elsewhere. Is that wise? Stay tuned...

TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
9:00-10:00 PM NCIS: LOS ANGELES
10:00-11:00 PM THE GOOD WIFE

While I think The Good Wife has very overrated ratings (there's a phenomenon that allows even people who seem to know that the demo is what matters to start focusing on the Peetooplus for certain shows; the lack of "mass appeal" in NBC's comedies being the flip side of the same phenomenon) I had a feeling this night was going to get left together. NCIS: LA, as I posted on PIFeedback a couple weeks back, is in that "decent" range where it doesn't do quite well enough (like The Mentalist) to risk a big move. The Good Wife doesn't really even do decent, but since it's a newer show than the similarly struggling CSI: NY, it gets to stay around.

WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM CRIMINAL MINDS
10:00-11:00 PM THE DEFENDERS (N)

CBS has apparently (and maybe foolishly) bought into the notion that Wednesday sitcoms are inherently weak and that somehow it's different on Thursday. This means that Survivor is off to Wednesday. It's going to do fine in terms of timeslot ranking, but I think the move from a timeslot it's been in for so long may hurt. Now, obviously, Heroes vs. Villains was an above-average cycle to begin with, so the more interesting comparison will be to the year-ago Samoa. We'll see. Criminal Minds finally gets used as a lead-in to a new show. But it's Yet Another Lawyer Show, this one starring the distinguished James Belushi. We shall see...

THURSDAY
8:00-8:30 PM THE BIG BANG THEORY (NT)
8:30-9:00 PM $#*! MY DAD SAYS (N)
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION
10:00-11:00 PM THE MENTALIST

OK, so Big Bang is probably not going to do as well as it did on Monday. How much worse is really the question. But it'll basically eliminate any hope of NBC's comedies doing well, that's for sure. Meanwhile, perhaps the only thing that was widely considered a true inevitability in CBS scheduling - a CSI/Mentalist flip - did not happen. That means CSI is going to stick at 9 and it's going to have a new sitcom as a lead-in. Whether that will be a better lead-in than Survivor is a very good question. But they're clearly hoping the dynamic there will change in CSI's favor. I guess it might have pissed off Jerry Bruckheimer to clearly deprioritize all three CSI's in the same season while axing Cold Case and Numb3rs.

FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM MEDIUM (NT)
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: NY (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM BLUE BLOODS (N)

Only one of the Friday shows returns, and that's CBS-produced Medium. It leads into CSI: NY, which has really been struggling down the stretch and probably deserved to go somewhere else. Then, at 10, it's a newbie, and that newbie stars Tom Selleck, whose Jesse Stone movies often see less than 20% of their audience in the demo. It will go up against Yet Another Lawyer Show on NBC in an epic matchup of Tom Selleck vs. Jimmy Smits. Do they kill each other, or does one post acceptable Friday ratings? You'd have to favor Selleck here, even though he has one of the oldest fanbases in history, mostly because CSI:NY is probably going to be stronger than Dateline.

SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
8:00-9:00 PM THE AMAZING RACE
9:00-10:00 PM UNDERCOVER BOSS
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI (NT)

And Miami, which has struggled out of Big Bang for much of this season, gets the Sunday 10pm "death slot" and will get to have fun starting its episodes at 10:45pm throughout the fall. I don't think you're going to get many people saying this, but I believe the success of Undercover Boss ended up having a lot of ripple effects across the whole sked. People have been calling for Sunday comedies for ages, but suddenly the Race/Boss block makes it look like they finally have something from 8-10 on Sundays worth keeping. It squeezed out a Sunday comedy block. This left them with a choice between Wednesday or Thursday. They chose Thursday, they decided to be very splashy, and that sent Survivor to Wednesday and Big Bang to Thursday.

OVERALL

It's aggressive, certainly moreso than Fox or ABC. (NBC not really worth mentioning, because they just don't have the returning pieces to come up with any real "aggressive" strategy.) Returning shows will take hits in favor of new shows. But as I said with NBC, that's how it should be. It's pretty hard to write off any of the new shows, whereas on ABC you can say it's pretty hard to write in any of the new shows. The question marks are going to be how big the hits will be on the "deprioritized" returning shows... those being Survivor, Big Bang, CSI: Miami, and CSI: NY.

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