Thursday, May 19, 2011

CBS’s 2011-12 Schedule

cbslogo200CBS announced their new fall schedule at their upfront presentation on Wednesday. Seven shows were cancelled or had been cancelled earlier in the year, while three new hour long dramas and two half hour comedies were announced to debut in the Fall. In additions a fourth drama has been announced for mid-season. Three shows were moved, and one show – Undercover Boss – was held over until the mid-season.

Cancelled: Chaos, Criminal Minds Suspect Behavior, The Defenders, Medium, Live To Dance, Mad Love, $#*! My Dad Says.

Moved: CSI, The Good Wife, Rules Of Engagement.

Renewed: Two And A Half Men, How I Met Your Mother, Mike & Molly, Hawaii Five-0, NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, Survivor, Criminal Minds, The Big Bang Theory, The Mentalist, CSI: New York, Blue Bloods, The Amazing Race, CSI: Miami.

New Shows: Dramas – Unforgettable, Person Of Interest, A Gifted Man
Comedys – 2 Broke Girls, How To Be A Gentleman

In addition the network has announced that returning series Undercover Boss, and new series The 2-2 will be available for mid-season.

Complete Schedule (All Times Eastern; new shows in Capitals, except NCIS and CSI)

8:00-8:30 p.m.  How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9:00 p.m.  2 BROKE GIRLS
9:00-9:30 p.m.  Two And A Half Men
9:30-10:00 p.m.  Mike & Molly
10:00-11:00 p.m.  Hawaii Five-0

8:00-9:00 p.m.  NCIS
9:00-10:00 p.m.  NCIS Los Angeles
10:00-11:00 p.m.  UNFORGETTABLE

8:00-9:00 p.m.  Survivor
9:00-10:00 p.m. Criminal Minds
10:00-11:00 p.m. CSI (new day and time)

8:00-8:30 p.m.  Big Bang Theory
8:30-9:00 p.m.  HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN
9:00-10:00 p.m.  PERSON OF INTEREST
10:00-11:00 p.m.  The Mentalist

8:00-9:00 p.m.  A GIFTED MAN
9:00-10:00 p.m.  CSI: New York
10:00-11:00 p.m.  Blue Bloods

8:00-8:30 p.m.  Rules Of Engagement (new day and time)
8:30-9:00 p.m.  Comedy Encores
9:00-10:00 p.m.  Drama Encores
10:00-11:00 p.m.  48 Hours Mystery

7:00-8:00 p.m. 60 Minutes
8:00-9:00 p.m.  The Amazing Race
9:00-10:00 p.m.  The Good Wife (new day and time)
10:00-11:00 p.m.  CSI: Miami

2 Broke Girls is a new comedy from Executive Producers Michael Patrick King and Whitney Cummings (who is starring in the new NBC comedy Whitney) about two waitresses with a dream. Max is working two jobs just to get by while Caroline is a “trust fund princess” who is having a run of bad luck. Max initially sees Caroline as the latest in a line of inept servers that she’s had to cover while working the night shift at the retro-hip Williamsburg Diner. Caroline surprises her though by having as much substance as style. And when Caroline finds out how good the cupcakes that Max makes are she sees the potential for a lucrative business. All they need is the money. Also stars Garrett Morris as Earl, the 75 year-old cool cat cashier; Jonathon Kite as Oleg, the overly flirtations cook, and Matthew Moy as the new, eager to please owner of the  diner.

Unforgettable stars Poppy Montgomery as Claire Wells as a former police detective who is quite literally incapable of forgetting anything. In fact the only things that she can’t remember are the details that could help solve her sister’s murder. One thing that she does remember are her conflicted feelings toward her former partner and ex-boyfriend, Detective Al Burns (Dylan Walsh). When she consults on a case with Al and his team, it somehow feels right. She decides to go back to work solving homicides, including her sister’s murder… if she can remember the details that her mind made her forget. Also stars Michael Gaston, Kevin Rankin, and Daya Vaidya as the members of Al’s team.

How To Be A Gentleman, from the book of the same name, is a comedy about two very different friends. Andrew Carlson (David Hornsby) writes an etiquette column who is devoted to ideals from a more civilised time. This leads him to live a life detached from modern society. When his editor Jerry (Dave Foley) tells him to make his column more modern and sexy or be fired, Andrew seeks out someone from his past. Andrew get Bert Lansing (Kevin Dillon) to be his life coach. Bert is a reformed bad boy who inherited a gym but can still be rude sloppy and loud. Andrew hopes that with Bert’s help he can become less a gentleman and more of a “real” man. Nancy Lennhan plays Andrew’s mother, Mary Lynn Raskjub plays his bossy sister, and Rhys Darby plays his brother-in-law.

Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson star in Person Of Interest a new drama from J.J. Abrams. Caviezel plays Reese, a former CIA operative who is presumed dead. while Michael Emerson plays billionaire software developer Finch, who has come up with software that will allow him to detect people who are about to become involved in a violent crime. Reese and Finch team up to use state of the art surveillance equipment and satellite technology to stop crimes before they happen. Reese comes to the attention of Detectives Carter and Fusco (Taraji P Henderson and Kevin Chapman) who he is able to use to his advantage.

In A Gifted Man Patrick Wilson plays Dr. Michael Holt, a doctor who is living a life of luxury as a result of wealthy patients and his obsession with work. The love of Michael’s  life was his ex-wife Anna (Jennifer Ehle) who has died sometime before the series begins. Thus it is something of a shock when she appears to him and asks him to help keep the free clinic that she started operating. Needless to say this surprises a lot of people. Michael’s sister Christina (Julie Benz) is happy that Anna is back in her brother’s life – even as an illusion – because he was always a better person when she was with him. At the clinic Michael meets Autumn (Afton Williams) a volunteer who is trying to carry on Anna’s work. Michael finds himself touched by the patients at the clinic and his attitude towards serving the rich and poor is turned upside down, and he begins to see that there’s room in his life for everyone. Margo Martindale plays Rita, Michael’s efficient assistant at his practice, while Liam Aiken plays Christina’s son Milo.

The 2-2, which will debut at mid-season, is a new police drama from Robert DeNiro and Jane Rosenthal that follows a group of six rookie cops as they patrol the streets of upper Manhattan. The rookies are a diverse group: Jennifer “White House” Perry (Leelee Sobieski) a former college volleyball star and Marine MP in Iraq, Ray “Lazarus” Harper (Adam Goldberg) a former police news reporter with better sources than many seasoned cops, Tonya Sanchez (Judy Marte) whose family has a criminal history and who has very personal connection within the force, Ahmad “Kiterunner” Kahn (Tom Reed) an Afghan native who fought his way to freedom, Kenny McClaren (Stark Sands) a fourth generation cop with qualms about joining the force, and Jason Toney (Harold House Moore) a former basketball prodigy who squandered his chance in the NBA. Daniel “Yoda” Dean (Terry Kinney) is their Field Training Officer, a case hardened unsentimental veteran who emphasizes the basics and holds each rookie accountable for their actions.


Maybe as interesting as the new shows (and in my view more interesting than some of them) is the shows that are moving to new time slots. The most puzzling move is probably the decision to put Rules Of Engagement on Saturdays. It has been a long time since any network except FOX had scheduled new episodes of shows on Saturdays when they weren’t trying to burn off the episodes that they’ve paid for. I basically have two theories on this: first, the network is trying to get enough episodes of the show in the can so that they can sell it for a syndication deal and since they’re paying for them they want to get all they can from them; and second the network wants the show available in its traditional role as a utility player, filling in for a comedy that dies quickly (and personally I have a choice for that “honour”) but wants the show to have a full run of episodes in case it isn’t needed.

The other big moves are taking The Good Wife to Sundays and CSI to Wednesday. I think that the network programmers putting The Good Wife up against the declining Desperate Housewives as an alternative for women who don’t watch football is about as good as it gets. That makes it a two-way race with a critical hit getting a chance in a time slot that could benefit it going up against an aging veteran whose ratings have slid in the past couple of years.

The CSI move is a puzzler to me. I know that while the show still draws well in the Thursday time slot it does do as well as it has done in the recent past. And I know that at least some people on the Internet, like Marc Berman, have spoken of moving it. However the time slot they suggested wasn’t the third hour of Wednesday night but either swapping the show with The Mentalist on Thursday night or cancelling CSI: New York and returning CSI to Friday, the day (and time) where it debuted. The Wednesday move makes some sense, giving it a very strong lead-in with with Criminal Minds but also involves some risk by putting it in competition with the still popular Law & Order SVU. I don’t know about this one yet.

Turning to the new comedies, I really like 2 Broke Girls as a concept and I think it’s likely to fit nicely into the Monday time slot between How I Met Your Mother and Two And A Half Men. The show I have no confidence in is How To Be A Gentleman. It just strikes me as one of the dumbest concepts for a comedy ever, and based on the commercial that I saw for it (since CBS has blocked YouTube videos of upfront clips for non-Americans) I just can’t see this show gaining an audience let alone holding it, even with Big Bang Theory as a lead-in. Think of it this way: what if Leonard and Sheldon’s neighbour wasn’t Penny, but some body-builder type who undertook the task of turning them into “real men.” Would you hve watched that series? I wouldn’t.

Turning to the dramas, it’s a mixed bag in terms of what I’d watch: the Good, the Bad, and the “I’ll have to see it.” The Good is most definitely Unforgettable. I really like Poppy Montgomery and the concept is quite intriguing. The Bad in my books is A Gifted Man. The idea has a lot in common with something like Joan Of Arcadia or maybe even a version of the movie Ghost. Of course I think that others (women) are going to see it differently. Certainly it is the sort of show that CBS has had success with in this time slot before, but I guess I’d just like to see something with a different sort of appeal. As far as “I’ll have to see it” goes, that would be Person of Interest. The whole idea sounds a lot like that Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. The description has a bit of a Big Brother (and not the reality show) feel to it and I’m not sure people are going to buy into it. But I really need to see it before I make a final decision. The mid-season show The 2-2 quite frankly sounds like something I’d be more likely to watch.

Looking at the CBS line-up the obvious thing you can say about it is that it represents a great deal of stability. There have been strategic moves and most of the shows that have been added aren’t exactly pushing the envelope. There was one choice that I clearly didn’t like and a couple of shows that I’m dubious about but these are things that you can try when your the network that’s at the top of the ratings. It isn’t as good as the ABC line-up, but nowhere near the level that the NBC or FOX line-ups managed. It’ll work.


Roger Owen Green said...

Damn. Good Wife on Sunday means I better set the DVR long for the NFL overtimes, assuming there is a season.

Todd Mason said...

I think your two reasons to run RULES on Saturday are spot on, and that repeats of sitcoms don't do as well, usually, as repeats of scripted leading into a sitcom repeat hour with a new episode makes some commercial sense. Not to mention the competition isn't too ferocious, and RULES might clean up.

Hadn't thought about sending THE GOOD WIFE after DESPERATE, but may it be bloody. A series I'm always sorry to miss vs. one I'm sorry ever to see, even when it has a good cast (Dana Delany wasted more time, hopefully making a few solid bucks, trying to lively up that series before rolling into her current inadequate one...and having that Delany series arrayed against the dramatically/artistically underachieving but well-cast PARENTHOOD and TGW was a real slap on the part of the three big commercial networks at the 40-something demo). GENTLEMAN has a good cast that probably is wasting its time, from the precis alone (I haven't seen any promo video or clips yet), and I suspect you'll like 2 BROKE better than I will, even though I like Cummings...and really don't like any of the work of MP King.

Say, do CBC or CTV or Global have anything of interest coming up in the fall that they aren't importing?

Ben said...

Having seen a preview of Person of Interest, I'd have to say I like it so far. Jim Caviezel, whom I haven't seen much of in other things, looks to be a charismatic lead. It helps that his character is kind of threatening. How it will do in the old CSI slot is something I won't guess.