Wednesday, May 18, 2016

2016 Upfront Answers: CBS

With the schedule now official, here are the Upfront Answers! Analysis coming shortly.

CBS upfront previews: Power Rankings | Upfront Questions

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


Fall 2016 Schedule
8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (switches to KEVIN CAN WAIT in late fall)
8:30 - KEVIN CAN WAIT (switches to MAN WITH A PLAN in late fall)
9:00 - 2 Broke Girls
9:30 - The Odd Couple
10:00 - Scorpion

Spot's Question: Will comedies return to Monday night in 2016-17?

Wow, big-time. I really didn't see CBS having the comedy horses to go all the way back to four hours full-time, but here we go, as they've squeezed all the returnees back onto the fall schedule. The Big Bang Theory will help this lineup get off the ground to start the season, and then they'll have to hope that Kevin Can Wait and Man with a Plan have the goods to kick things off. It's not great news for Scorpion, already shoved into the 10:00 hour in just its third season.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8:00 - NCIS
9:00 - BULL
10:00 - NCIS: New Orleans

Spot's Question: Will CBS go more compatible at 10/9c?

It used to look like the only thing that could get an NCIS spin-off out of the 9/8c hour was another NCIS spin-off. But it seems that should be expanded to other dramas starring NCIS leads. This gives Bull the best chance to succeed, especially with Chicago Med vacating the hour and comedies on ABC, but I'm pleasantly surprised CBS actually went this route.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8:00 - Survivor
9:00 - Criminal Minds
10:00 - Code Black

Spot's Question: Has Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders done enough to return in the fall?

Apparently not; instead, it's the return of fall occupant Code Black. One thing worth noting is that Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders has gotten nicked a bit more since Chicago PD returned, to the point that I really felt like Code and Beyond Borders (and Limitless for that matter) were all pretty interchangeable. So this is really not that different from putting Beyond Borders back here, I guess. CBS seems to have some legitimate belief in Code Black and the hints of momentum it showed in the second half of last season.


Fall 2016 Schedule (Returns October 27)
8:00 - The Big Bang Theory
9:00 - Mom
9:30 - Life in Pieces

Spot's Question: Is Thursday in the late fall safe for a new series launch again?

Yep. Big-time. Both The Great Indoors and Pure Genius are slated to premiere the first week after Thursday Night Football ends. As I said, I don't think this terrain is as rough as last year, but I'm pretty surprised to see multiple shows premiering on October 27.


Fall 2016 Schedule
9:00 - Hawaii Five-0
10:00 - Blue Bloods

Spot's Question: Has The Amazing Race earned a third year of Friday action?

No! Instead, CBS is actually going to try to launch a new drama on Friday in the fall again, something they haven't done since A Gifted Man five years ago Made in Jersey four years ago. It's rather odd to see MacGyver make the fall sked after there was so much talk about recasting and retooling. Kinda reminds me of the talk about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend last year, but it made the schedule anyway. I'm a bit curious why they wouldn't just put NCIS: LA here and have MacGyver get a look at the NFL lead-in, but they may just not have that much confidence.


Fall 2016 Schedule
8:00 - NCIS: Los Angeles
9:00 - Madam Secretary
10:00 - Elementary

Spot's Question: What gets the inflated 60 Minutes lead-in in the fall?

It's another veteran, as NCIS: Los Angeles heads to the Sunday 8/7c hour. It skews nearly as old as Madam Secretary but probably a little more "Truly" male. (I think Madam's gender numbers are skewed because it's had those NFL lead-ins.) So it could actually be a pretty strong fit with the NFL-inflated 60 Minutes. 9:00 to 11:00 remains a dumping ground, which is reasonable.


Man, this is really full of surprises. Might take me awhile to actually process it all. The one that I'm clearly sold on is Bull getting the direct NCIS lead-in. Not too sure about MacGyver going to Friday instead of a lower-tier veteran, but that's probably not a particularly high-stakes decision either way.

For the most part, it seems pretty clear that most of this is going to hinge on the huge move of going with two comedy hours on Monday and shoving Scorpion to 10/9c. I'm usually Mr. Comedy when it comes to scheduling, but there are some clear concerns here. It obviously sucks for Scorpion, which had a slightly underwhelming sophomore season but was clearly still a second-tier CBS drama. And it's also pretty uncertain whether CBS is spreading itself really thin comedy-wise, essentially eliminating the filler utility player role that Rules of Engagement and Mike and Molly have been in years past. It seems to be a pretty massive bet on the new comedies. Hope it works out.

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