Wednesday, May 9, 2012

2012 Upfront Questions, CBS


Last year, I did a series of "Upfront Questions" posts during the pre-upfront week, and I used those questions plus the revealed schedules for "Upfront Answers" during upfront week. I liked that format, so I'm gonna try generally the same thing this year.


This network's upfront happens just one week from today!

Other Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | The CW | General

For another reference, see the April CBS True Power Rankings.

MONDAY

2011-12 Schedule
8:00 - How I Met Your Mother
8:30 - 2 Broke Girls
9:00 - Two and a Half Men
9:30 - Mike and Molly
10:00 - Hawaii Five-0

Question: Which sitcom moves?

As I've said before, I think this is one of the most interesting questions of the whole upfront week, because I believe there are legitimate arguments for and against every single one of the four shows going to Thursday. I don't want to regurgitate all that, but you can go back and read the Power Rankings.

I do want to add one more little facet to the discussion: CBS' precedent in this situation. At the 2008 upfront, as in 2012, CBS had three seemingly clearly anchor-worthy sitcoms (The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men) airing in two hours. So the next fall, they added an hour. Which returning anchor got moved? None of the above. Instead they moved the more marginal The New Adventures of Old Christine, endured two low-rated years of Christine and Gary Unmarried, then moved The Big Bang Theory to Thursday the next year.

There are a lot of different variables, but it's the same bare bones situation: x anchors (including one first-year show) in x - 1 hours. I'd look at this 2012 decision as something of a referendum on the 2008 one. Yes, they got crap ratings with Christine and Gary, but they also kept their two established Monday shows in place and were able to nurture the new show (The Big Bang Theory) for bigger and much better things down the line. Was that worth it in the end? If so, we just might see a Mike and Molly move to Thursday, while CBS protects Monday against the heavy competish and prepares 2 Broke Girls to rule Monday. That's what I would do. If not, well... anything else is possible!

TUESDAY

2011-12 Schedule 
8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00 - Unforgettable

Question: What's the verdict on NCIS: LA?

As I said last year, NCIS and its spin-off comprise one of those "good-not-great" pairings that we amateur schedulers are always determined to rip apart, but it never happens as much as we'd like. I wouldn't mind seeing LA on Sunday paired back up with its former Tuesday teammate The Good Wife. The more realistic possibility is that it goes to 10:00 while... something else goes to 9:00. Ultimately, it depends on what that something else is. CBS will move NCIS: LA if they feel they have a good reason to do so, and last fall's Unforgettable was not good enough.

WEDNESDAY

2011-12 Schedule
8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - CSI

Question: It ain't broke, but does CBS fix it?

I'm pretty sure Survivor and Criminal Minds are staying put, but I do consider CSI original a candidate to end up back on Friday. The good spots for new shows are just that limited.

THURSDAY

2011-12 Schedule
8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
8:30 - How to Be a Gentleman / Rules of Engagement / Rob
9:00 - Person of Interest
10:00 - The Mentalist

Question: Which hour does The Big Bang Theory lead off?

It's enticing to imagine the possibilities if The Big Bang Theory goes to higher-viewed 9:00. Could a situation comedy consistently hit a 6.0 Live + SD rating? It'd be kinda awesome. But is that move the given that many assume? I don't think so. For me, it's dependent on which returning show joins the night. If it's one of the super-established Monday shows (HIMYM or Two and a Half Men), then I like BBT for 9/8c. But if they move something that's a little bit more of a question mark (either 2 Broke Girls or Mike and Molly), I'd rather put that show at 9/8c to give it the best possible chance with higher viewing levels and a comedy lead-in. Maximizing the ratings of TBBT is nice, but I don't think they should throw the other hour to the wolves just to make that happen.

FRIDAY

2011-12 Schedule 
8:00 - A Gifted Man / Undercover Boss
9:00 - CSI: NY / A Gifted Man
10:00 - Blue Bloods

Question: Has the late-season Undercover Boss decline opened up a slot?

For the last few Power Rankings, I've advocated killing both CSI spin-offs. Admittedly the recent plight of Undercover Boss is getting me to rethink that. Maybe a shortened season to share a slot with something (a Friday show or The Amazing Race) is the better plan for the Boss. How many interesting corporations does this show have left to feature, anyway? I'm starting to think they need to go with a CSI spin-off, a second-tier returning drama and Blue Bloods on Friday.

Side note: I do strongly believe CBS should push something that appears to be doing well to this night and give the new dramas a better chance on weeknights. Blue Bloods just happened to be an absolute perfect fit for Friday, but in general I don't like the growing CBS tendency to throw new shows on Friday. Continuing the three-new-dramas tradition without one on Friday would take pretty drastic measures, though: cancel both CSI spin-offs and move two of CSI, The Mentalist and The Good Wife to Friday.

SUNDAY

2011-12 Schedule
7:00 - 60 Minutes
8:00 - The Amazing Race
9:00 - The Good Wife
10:00 - CSI: Miami / NYC 22

Question: How serious is CBS about Sunday 18-49 competitiveness?

I've wondered for much of the season if CBS will end up "trying" harder on Friday than on overrun-riddled Sunday. If they move something like The Mentalist or NCIS: LA over to Sunday and get The Good Wife off the night, we'll know they're serious about Sunday. But my wild guess is they will shove The Good Wife up to the 10/9c hour, put some new drama at 9/8c that they think has potential for some critical favor (perhaps the Western?), and try to push the high-income angle for this evening. The only thing that makes me think they may get more aggressive is the fact that ABC is also such a question mark on Sunday next fall.

1 comment:

Spot said...

Deadline informs leak is CBS pickups are Elementary, Ralph Lamb (AKA Vegas Rising), Baby Big Shot, Golden Boy with comedies Partners and Friend Me.
With early renewals it gives CBS 13 dramas + 7 comedies. Last season they had 14 + 8. If CSI: Miami (or NY) and Rules of Engagement (or Rob) are renewed it'd be exactly 14 + 8 again.

Then, most important question is answered: no comedy expansion. Either pilots turned out not good, either they're worried about aging of Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother. Probably both.

I see only one remaining question: with 3 new dramas in Fall schedule which veteran drama is now moving to Friday 9PM slot? If CSI: NY is renewed, then it means Miami is canceled and in that case I see NY simply moving into Miami spot behind The Good Wife. One new drama takes Tue 10 PM (Unforgettable is dead, no doubt), and another goes to Friday (but not two new dramas at Friday, of course). How to make room for third one, which show goes to Friday?
A) CSI - it's definitely most logical to move aging show ... but it was just moved last season and Tassler is pleased how well it fit behind CM
B) Hawaii Five-0 - despite already sold into syndication, I doubt they move it to weekend already in critical 3rd season ... though I can see it moved to another weekday
C) NCIS:LA - I can't see them launching 2 new dramas at Tuesday and I can see LA falling apart without mothership lead-in, no way Jose
D) The Mentalist - I think that's it, already in syndication, after next 5th season will be near 120 episodes and most important ... not produced by CBS Studios
E) The Good Wife - final season at Friday? With new drama at Sunday (Baby Big Shot? ) - I doubt, recently CBS seems to be reluctant to put new show in position to be disturbed by constant NFL overruns.

There's possibility of CSI: NY (or Miami) at Friday 9PM and veteran drama going to Sunday 10PM. Or even something like Mentalist to Friday 8PM, CSI to Sunday 10 PM with 3 new dramas in Mon-Thu. But I hadn't give it a serious thought, cause I strongly believe Miami has upper hand over NY - and moving CSI: Miami in its final season is not making sense to me, they can wait 12 months for it to die, then put motherboard there to die soon after too.

My mock schedule:
Monday How I Met Your Mother *** 2 Broke Girls *** Two and a Half Men *** Mike & Molly *** Elementary (NEW)
Tuesday NCIS *** NCIS: LA *** Ralph Lamb (NEW)
Wedneday Survivor *** Criminal Minds *** CSI
Thursday The Big Bang Theory *** Partners (NEW) *** Person of Interest *** Hawaii Five-0
Friday Baby Big Shot (NEW) *** The Mentalist *** Blue Bloods
Sunday 60 minutes *** The Amazing Race *** The Good Wife *** CSI Miami

bench players:
Golden Boy
Friend Me
Rules of Engagement

Nothing spectacular, only moving Mentalist to Friday and Hawaii Five-0 into its spot, thus giving strong lead-ins to two new dramas. CBS is most stable, they certainly don't need changes for sake of changes.

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