Wednesday, May 10, 2017

2017 Upfront Questions: CBS


Part two of the upfront preview is the SCHEDULE-centric portion, examining the big-picture scheduling questions each network faces on each night in the final week before its upfront.

On each night, you can see the network's average 2016-17 ratings with its most frequent occupant in three different sub-sections of the year: "fall" (premiere week through December 31), "winter" (January 1 to the beginning of Daylight Saving Time) and "spring" (the start of DST through Thursday, May 4). You can also switch from the A18-49 ratings to the True ratings, which should make the comparisons across nights and across the season a bit more fair.

Last week's Renewology was the SHOW-centric portion, drilling more into the merits of individual shows: CBS Renewology

More Upfront Questions: NBC | Fox | ABC | CBS | CW








Monday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fallKevin Can WaitMan with a Plan2 Broke GirlsThe Odd CoupleScorpion1.35
1.871.331.401.001.25
1.601.20
winterKevin Can WaitMan with a PlanSuperior Donuts2 Broke GirlsScorpion1.33
1.531.371.281.341.21
1.451.31
springKevin Can WaitMan with a PlanSuperior Donuts2 Broke GirlsScorpion1.07
1.181.021.031.021.08
1.101.03

Question: Will CBS roll back from its comedy explosion?

There were two big gambles at last year's upfronts. NBC's Tuesday lineup with This Is Us was a win beyond imagination, but CBS' thinly-stretched return to four hours of comedy has been much less so. Kevin Can Wait did well on Monday, but everything after that has been uninspiring at best.

That expansion, plus the addition of two full-season drama newbies in Bull and MacGyver, has created a schedule in which it's tough to carve out space for new dramas. In a similar situation two years ago, CBS blew up Monday comedy completely to open up the 8/7c space for Supergirl.

With six comedy renewals in the bank and at least a chance there could be another, we're certainly not going to see another retraction all the way back to two comedy hours. But is there any way CBS could bail on the 9/8c hour to re-open the space where Scorpion launched to great success three years ago? I wouldn't totally rule it out, but the comedy inventory still suggests comedy. Though Man with a Plan and Superior Donuts have been pretty soft, CBS should bring them back in the fall and get a verdict on whether they are long-term players. Maybe the young Sheldon spinoff of The Big Bang Theory takes up shop on this night to try to juice things up a bit.





Tuesday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fallNCISBullNCIS: New Orleans1.59
1.861.631.27
winterNCISBullNCIS: New Orleans1.41
1.761.361.13
springNCISBullNCIS: New Orleans1.27
1.501.231.10

Question: Is there a new drama that warrants breaking up Tuesday success?

It will be a recurring theme on this post... the lack of places to put new dramas. NCIS / Bull / NCIS: New Orleans worked reasonably well. If there weren't so few other options, I would keep this trio together. Since most of the other options suck even more, it could get broken. Could see NO going to Thursday or Sunday.





Wednesday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fallSurvivor FallCriminal MindsCode Black1.45
1.871.500.97
winterHuntedCriminal MindsCode Black1.17
1.241.310.96
springSurvivor SpringCriminal MindsCriminal Minds: Beyond Borders1.29
1.731.320.83

Question: Is it finally time for CBS to move Criminal Minds to 10/9c?

It's kinda amazing how long we have been talking about Criminal Minds moving to the 10/9c hour without it ever happening, but here we are again. Minds always seems to rejuvenate itself right when the knives are coming out, and was still able to hang on to the hour at one of its very weakest points because of the looming threat of peak Empire two years ago. In that tradition, it was classic Criminal Minds for the show to suddenly spike to a 1.5 last week. Have the spring ratings bought still more time at 9/8c for Criminal Minds?

This time, I think the lack of drama launch-pads will finally tip the scales toward a "Crexit." Wednesday between Survivor and Minds is the best spot for a new drama, and by a pretty wide margin. And in S.W.A.T., which stars longtime Minds regular Shemar Moore, they seemingly have another opportunity to pair a familiar franchise with its former star in the NCIS / Bull vein. It wouldn't be a shock to see Minds win out for 9/8c again, but this just feels like a spot where they have to do better by the new show. 10/9c drama launches did not go well last year, to say the least.





Thursday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fallThe Big Bang TheoryThe Great IndoorsMomLife in PiecesPure Genius1.54
3.251.511.391.300.90
2.381.34
winterThe Big Bang TheoryThe Great IndoorsMomLife in PiecesTraining Day1.49
3.071.571.511.310.75
2.321.41
springThe Big Bang TheoryThe Great IndoorsMomLife in PiecesThe Amazing Race Spring1.34
2.581.301.341.140.83
1.941.24

Question: What will the network try to launch on Thursday?

As we said last year, the new Thursday Night Football setup with CBS' games ending in late October was not quite as treacherous as the old one. It could be even better this year with CBS owning the late afternoon game on Thanksgiving. But that didn't stop all of CBS' Thursday newbies from disappointing in 2016-17. The post-Big Bang slot is still way too enticing to pass up, but ideally CBS would leave the 9/8c hour alone and stick something like NCIS: NO or Code Black at 10/9c.





Friday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fallMacGyverHawaii Five-0Blue Bloods1.19
1.141.241.21
winterMacGyverHawaii Five-0Blue Bloods1.14
1.071.161.17
springMacGyverHawaii Five-0Blue Bloods0.94
0.870.970.98

Question: Is there a reason to change anything?

Like Tuesday, this was another night that worked from top to bottom. But after MacGyver successfully launched on Friday a year ago, CBS could try to take another swing in the increasingly viable Friday landscape. Perhaps hammock something between Mac or Hawaii Five-0 at 8/7c and Blue Bloods at 10/9c. I mean, this one seems less likely than the Tuesday scenario, especially since competing NBC may be back into the Friday scripted business. Just throwing it out there because even to get a second new drama, CBS will have to do something that doesn't feel quite "right."





Sunday

Year8:008:309:009:3010:0010:30Avg
fall60 MinutesNCIS: Los AngelesMadam SecretaryElementary1.32
2.611.471.500.990.68
2.041.24
winterNCIS: Los AngelesMadam SecretaryElementary0.89
1.220.820.63
spring60 MinutesNCIS: Los AngelesMadam SecretaryElementary1.05
1.901.181.270.820.57
1.541.05

Question: Will CBS add another decent-rated hour on Sunday?

CBS has not really given it much of an effort on Sunday in years, grooming prestige and/or syndication plays like The Good Wife and current occupants Madam Secretary and Elementary. But the move of NCIS: Los Angeles bore real fruit on the night last year. CBS aired a lot of Saturday originals this season, which could be a prelude to sending some of the factory over there. Or maybe Elementary just gets axed, which would make it even easier. This could lead to more Sunday competitiveness with something like NCIS: New Orleans or a new drama. (Tough to see a journalism drama like The Get working anywhere other than after 60 Minutes.)

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