Wednesday, May 15, 2013

2013 Upfront Answers, CBS

Last week, I asked "Upfront Questions" to preview each network's fall 2013 schedule. With the schedule now official, here are the "Upfront Answers"!

CBS upfront previews: True Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

Other Upfront Answers: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW


Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00-8:30 PM How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9:00 PM WE ARE MEN (N)
9:00-9:30 PM 2 Broke Girls
9:30-10:00 PM MOM (N)
10:00-11:00 PM HOSTAGES (N) / INTELLIGENCE (Mid-Season) (N)

My Question: Did CBS bet on the wrong horse or treat the right horse the wrong way?

Right. Horse. Or at least that's what CBS thinks. Not only does 2 Broke Girls stay on Monday at 9/8c, but it is surrounded by new shows. Its lead-in is far from a sure thing in single-cam We Are Men, and it gets the opportunity to lead into what most have labelled the surest thing among the new comedies. Couple that with a relatively wild-card choice in the Monday 10/9c hour, and CBS is once again betting pretty big (perhaps too big?) on 2 Broke Girls.


Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
9:00-10:00 PM NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00-11:00 PM Person of Interest (NT)
My Question: Is a third NCIS the only thing that could kick LA out of the cushy slot?

Looks like it. I'd have been really interested to see the NCIS / PoI / NCIS: LA lineup instead, but knowing how CBS has operated with LA, it would've been a pretty solid surprise to actually see it come to fruition. This is far from the best possible situation for Person of Interest, but it should at least make solid improvements on what Vegas did last year. Another benefit here is that it throws a strong procedural alternative at the drama NBC's trying to take to the next level, Chicago Fire.


Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM Survivor
9:00-10:00 PM Criminal Minds
10:00-11:00 PM CSI

My Question: Will there be enough change on other nights to necessitate keeping this lineup intact for a third season?

Yup. Perhaps the most radical thing about this CBS schedule is the fact that they have only one slot for a new drama, whereas their norm historically has been three. As supposedly sure things like Beverly Hills Cop and NCIS: Red have gone by the wayside, perhaps it shouldn't have been terribly hard to see something like this coming. It seems like a below-average drama season out of eye development, and while post-Criminal Minds would've been one of the network's better new drama slots, it seems there was nothing worth messing with this lineup for.


Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00-8:30 PM The Big Bang Theory
8:30-9:00 PM THE MILLERS (N)
9:00-9:30 PM THE CRAZY ONES (N)
9:30-10:00 PM Two and a Half Men
10:00-11:00 PM Elementary

My Question: In the comedy expansion decision, does great development trump weaker returnees?

Yes. Ohhhhh, yes. It was obvious based on the number of comedy pickups that a fourth hour was coming. It was not quite as obvious that they would hold both expand and hold reliable Mike and Molly for midseason, opening up a whooping four slots for new comedies. That is what you call a massive vote of confidence in comedy development... or the polar opposite of last year. Meanwhile, The Crazy Ones anchors an hour with Two and a Half Men thrown to 9:30. Big nod to Robin Williams and co. or big no-confidence vote in Ashton and co.?


Fall 2013 Schedule
8:00-9:00 PM Undercover Boss
9:00-10:00 PM Hawaii Five-0 (NT)
10:00-11:00 PM Blue Bloods

My Question: Which veteran assumes the CSI: NY role?

Reading the repeat tea leaves worked this time as Hawaii Five-0 indeed gets the unsurprising Friday nod. And reading the "its ratings are too good for the utility player role" tea leaves worked as well as Undercover Boss is back into the early fall mix for the first time in three years. Those two things add up to: no new shows on Friday! Huzzah!


Fall 2013 Schedule
7:00-8:00 PM 60 Minutes
8:00-9:00 PM The Amazing Race
9:00-10:00 PM The Good Wife
10:00-11:00 PM The Mentalist

My Question: Might the tight real estate create a Sunday surprise?

Nope. Not even remotely. It's kind of sad, but as I have been saying over the past two weeks, it's exactly what I expected.


In terms of surprise factor, the CBS sked had the least by a pretty long shot. This was almost exactly what I expected, with the only real surprise being the four new comedy slots and just the one new drama slot. (I figured probably three and two.) There are some minor underwhelming points, like the continued Sunday stand-pat and Person of Interest at 10:00, but in both cases I can see pretty clearly why they went the other way.

Overall, a rock-solid job by CBS, and let's see how the comedies do. It's only a shame that they couldn't have combined this year's development with last year's hotter returnees (especially on Monday). But I feel that this vindicates a lot of that anger I had over the non-expansion last year; it's pretty obvious they had the returnee pieces to do it, and it's very sad that they didn't have the new ones. The end result was a somewhat underwhelming season for CBS, even if they did "win." But maybe a stronger new class will help breathe a little new life into a show like 2 Broke Girls. I do think that new blood can lift all boats, to some degree.


Spot said...

Best Move: Moving Person of Interest to Tuesdays at 10. CBS has been successful at using existing shows to shore up problem timeslots (Survivor to Wednesdays is the best, most recent example), and Tuesday was arguably a bigger problem than Monday's Hawaii meltdown.

Worst Move: Putting Mom at 9:30 after 2 Broke Girls. It's being set up to replace HIMYM for 2014-2015, so a Monday home wasn't unexpected. But unless 2 Broke Girls finds its ratings mojo again I think it's a more difficult timeslot to crack, especially since it'll contend with The Voice's stronger second hour.

Other thoughts: CBS' eggs are clearly on Monday and Thursday to find at least two new sitcoms to replace the older shows. And with two more shows in the wings (including Mike & Molly with a full-season order), I doubt we'll see the same level of patience as Partners got this year. I'd argue that CBS did at least have a surprise in having so many new shows on Mondays; I thought PoI could land there to minimize that. And Hostages sounds very off-brand for CBS, but it's encouraging to see them try a serialized drama.

I can think of 2 reasons for 2.5 Men getting the 9:30 slot: to give Elementary a strong/better-known lead-in, and to create the next 9:00 sitcom anchor.

Spot said...

Again stability, again no shocks, just few mild surprises (only one new drama, Mom on Monday, Friends With Better Lives in midseason).
But that stability is very deceptive, out of 3 previous development cycles only Person of Interest and 2 Broke Girls are still alive (plus zombie Hawaii 5-0 wondering around for syndication purposes). Furthermore, CBS drama pilots apparently being pretty bad this year. I mean, only three were picked, and sole one on fall schedule is kinda out of brand, more serialized.
Those well doing veterans are going to die sooner or later, CBS better hope they hit the jackpot with some of those new comedies.

Spot said...

Soooo hoping some of the new comedies bomb. Why can't they have some trouble to deal with too? :D

But the schedule is pretty good.

Spot said...

I think the lack of a Sunday timeshare is a mistake, especially w/ a pre-planned rookie timeshare on Mondays (even if that timeshare is because the fall half is only planned for 15 eps). But I'm also starting to think that CBS is treating Sundays as a second Fridays now, because of how remarkably unsuccessful they've been on the night for so long, and how much erosion is going on w/ the all the cable powerhouses clustered on the night. If not Five-0, they could've put CSI @ 9 and opened a slot for a new drama behind Criminal Minds (although, given how that went in 2010-11, perhaps hesitance on their part is understandable).

Spot said...

Once again, a Warner Bros. show (Person of Interest) gets shorted for CBS TV shows. (NCIS: LA, Elementary) It wouldn't surprise me to see Elementary consistently getting a full point better lead-in than PoI next season.

Monday: I don't know if I'm as confident in 2 Broke Girls as CBS is, but HIMYM will be solid all year, and might grow in its swan song. The tough part is that they can't afford any soft starts. I'm not even talking about a Partners-esque bomb. I'm talking about if they don't have all 3.0+ on premiere night, it'll be nail-biting time.

Tuesday: I'm not expecting much good. NCIS is falling with The Voice as competition, and S.H.I.E.L.D. won't make it any easier. LA is falling just as fast with less competition. Person of Interest hasn't done much with Two and a Half Men's 3.79 average lead-in, but maybe a more compatible audience will give it the juice it needs.

Wednesday: Not a white flag night, but certainly not one tailored to growth.

Thursday: Man. They are really trying to prop up Elementary. Instead of using 2 1/2 Men to boost a rookie comedy (which we all know they need badly), they're using it on that?

Friday: I'm just glad they didn't throw a new show on Friday. Anything else I don't care about.

Sunday: This, however, IS a white flag night.

Spot said...

I've been thinking CBS treat Sunday as another Friday for a while now. And by that, in CBS's case, that specifically means "syndication factory". Considering that they have two nights' worth of shows in that sort of position, this was an inevitable decision from essentially the moment that TGW and Mentalist got their early renewals (if they were going to go aggressive on Sunday, at least one and probably both of those shows had to be cancelled). I think they see Mentalist as a show they don't much care about (because it's a WB show) to quietly occupy a slot they don't much care about (because it's a dreaded 10:xx start time). Maybe the opportunity to go aggressive on Sunday will be next season, because both Friday dramas will have made it to 88 episodes and the Sunday shows will also both be easy to cancel if needs be.

I think CBS feel they can roll the dice with comedies because they have 22 episodes of Mike & Molly ready to roll. I like that bit, but I was thinking:
Mon: HIMYM/Mom, 2BG/The Millers
Thu: TBBT/2.5 Men, Crazy Ones/We Are Men
Then the big four don't move, Mom gets the best shot without moving 2.5 Men, and the Chuck Lorre power hour gives the best possible shot for a singlecam hour with neither show having to mix in with multis (and going all-in in that hour is a strategic move to hurt Fox, which may have been at least part of why they did it last year). I do see what they're doing though - Mom probably pairs well with 2BG, 2.5 Men at 9:30 counters the attempted counter-move from NBC in the hour (both halves of the hour are now new singlecam/big-name multicam, and CBS look good in both matchups), and obviously they really like The Millers.

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