Friday, May 17, 2013

CBS’s 2013-14 Schedule

cbslogo200CBS is a network that has the luxury of doing things that other networks wouldn’t do, like cancelling shows that win their time periods because they didn’t win in the “right” way. Which is to say that shows didn’t retain a high enough percentage of the previous show’s audience. Or that the show didn’t draw as big an audience this year as the show in the same time slot did last year…and oh yes CBS cancelled that show last year (in that example I am thinking about the third hour of Tuesday where CBS cancelled Unforgettable last year and then cancelled Golden Boy this year because it didn’t draw as big an audience as Unforgettable did a year ago). As is the case most years, CBS is programming the lowest number of new shows and apparently think that they’re programming the best new shows.

CSI: New York, Golden Boy, Made In Jersey, Jobs, Partners, Rules of Engagement, Vegas

How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Survivor, Criminal Minds, CSI, The Big Bang Theory, Two And A Half Men, Elementary, Undercover Boss, Blue Bloods, 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Good Wife, The Mentalist

Person Of Interest, Hawaii Five-0

New Shows
We Are Men, Mom, Hostages, The Millers, The Crazy Ones,

Held Until Mid-Season
Mike & Molly, Reckless, Friends With Better Lives, Intelligence

Complete Schedule (All times Eastern, New Shows in Capitals, except the CSI and NCIS shows)

8:00-8:30 p.m.: How I Met Your Mother
8:30-9:00 p.m.: WE ARE MEN
9:00-9:30 p.m.: 2 Broke Girls
9:30-10:00 p.m.:  MOM
10:00-11:00 p.m.:  HOSTAGES/ INTELLIGENCE

8:00-9:00 p.m.: NCIS
9:00-10:00 p.m.: NCIS: Los Angeles
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Person Of Interest (New Day and Time)

8:00-9:00 p.m.: Survivor
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Criminal Minds
10:00-11:00 p.m.: CSI

8:00-8:30 p.m.: The Big Bang Theory
8:30-9:00 p.m.: THE MILLERS
9:00-9:30 p.m. THE CRAZY ONES
9:30-10:00 p.m.: Two And A Half Men (New Time)
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Elementary

8:00-9:00 p.m.: Undercover Boss
9:00-10:00 p.m.: Hawaii Five-0 (New Daw and Time)
10:00-11:00 p.m.: Blue Bloods 

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
10:00-11:00 p.m.: The Mentalist

We Are Men is about four guys living in a short term apartment complex. Carter (Chris Smith) is the youngest of the group. He was left at the altar in the middle of the ceremony and is eager to re-enter the dating game. He finds “advice” from the other three men in the group. Frank Russo (Tony Shaloub) is a successful clothing manufacturer…and a four-time divorcee who still considers himself a lady’s man. Gil Bartis (Kal Pen) is a small business owner who was caught having the world’s worst affair. Stuart Strickland (Jerry O’Connell) is an OB/GYN who is hiding assets while waiting for his second divorce to be completed. Jill (Rebecca Breeds) is Frank’s daughter, and the only good thing from his failed relationships.

Mom is the latest series from Chuck Lorre. Anna Faris plays Christy, a newly sober single mom with two kids who works as a waitress at a posh Napa Valley restaurant. She’s four months sober but her efforts to overcome her history of bad choices and be a good mother to her kids is complicated when her mom Bonnie (Allison Janney), herself a recovering alcoholic re-enters her life, full of passive-aggressive insights into all of Christy’s mistakes. She’s just another member of Christy’s dubious support circle, which includes her “16 going on 25 year-old” daughter Violet (Sadie Calvano), her overly honest son Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal), Christy’s irresponsible ex-husband (and Roscoe’s father) Baxter (Matt Jones), her married boss – and lover – Gabriel (Nate Cordry) and the restaurant’s hot-tempered chef Rudy (French Stewart).

In The Millers Will Arnett is roving news reporter Nathan Miller. Newly divorced he’s looking forward to living the single life, but fate intervenes. After he finally tells his parents about the divorce his father Tom (Beau Bridges) is inspired to leave his wife of 43 years. Nathan’s life is turned upside down when his mother Carol (Margo Martindale) decides to move in with him. Meanwhile absent-minded Tom imposes on Nathan’s sister Debbie, her husband Adam and their daughter Mykayla (Eve Moon). Even Nathan’s cameraman Ray (JB Smoove), who was looking forward to being Nathan’s wingman finds his style cramped by Carol. Nathan and Debbie are left to wonder how long the awkward adjustment phase is going to last, and how to deal with their impossible parents in the meantime.

The Crazy Ones marks Robin Williams’s return to series TV, in a show produced by David E. Kelly. Williams plays Simon Roberts, the head of a powerful ad agency that woks with some of the biggest brands in the world. His biggest thing for him though is that his partner is his daughter Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar). The two are polar opposites; while Simon is unpredictable and given to unorthodox methods, Sydney is focused, organized and eager to make a name for herself. All while parenting her father.

The latest Jerry Bruckheimer series to come to CBS is Hostages. Rogue FBI Agent Duncan Carlisle (Dylan McDermott) takes surgeon Ellen Sanders (Toni Collete) and her family captive in their home. Carlisle orders Ellen to kill the President of the United States (James Naughton) when she operates on him in order to save her overbearing husband Brian (Tate Donavon), secretive daughter Morgan (Quinn Shepherd) and not so innocent son Jake (Mateus Ward). Working with Duncan are his brother-in-law Kramer (Rhys Coiro) whose loyalties will be tested, intimidating ex-military man Archer (Billy Brown) and the mysterious last minute replacement Sandrine (Sandrine Holt).

In Intelligence, Gabriel (Josh Hollaway) is the first human to be directly connected to the electronic grid through a super computer chip implanted in his head. he has access to the Internet, wi-fi, telephone and satellite data. He’s an operative of Cybercom, a government agency headed by Director Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger) a straightforward and efficient boss who oversees the unit’s mission. Secret Service agent Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) is assigned to protect Gabriel, not just from foreign threats but from his own appetite for reckless unpredictable behaviour. The designer of the chip is Dr. Shenandoah Cassidy (John Billingsley) whose son Nelson (PJ Byrne) is jealous of the prominent place Gabriel has in his father’s life.

A Southern lawyer from Charleston and a litigator from Chicago must hide their simmering attraction when a police sex scandal threatens to overtake the city in Reckless. Jamie Sawyer (Anna Wood) is the cool confident and street-smart Chicago  defense attorney while Roy Rader (Cam Gigandet) is the Charleston-born City Attorney who owes his position to his influential former father-in-law Dec Fortnum (Gregory Harrison). When disgraced former cop Lee Ann Marcus (Georgina Haig) comes to Jamie to ask her to represent her in a lawsuit against the police department, Jamie and Roy soon discover that the case will uncover a sinister case within the police department. The department is headed by Deputy Chief Holland Knox (Michael Gladis) a family man who exudes integrity. But is he what he seems, and are the people around him, including Jamie’s boyfriend Preston Cruz (Adam Rodriguez) implicated in the corruption that is about to come out?

Friends With Better Lives is a new comedy about a group of six friends at various stages of their lives who, while outwardly happy, can’t help but wonder if maybe their friends have it better than they do. Andi (Majandra Delfino) and Bobby (Kevin Conolly) are happily married with two kids…but at time long for the days when they had more fun and less responsibility. Will (James Van Der Beek) is recently divorced and preaching the bachelor lifestyle…but still yearns for his ex-wife. Jules (Brooklyn Decker) and Lowell (Rick Donald) are high on their newly engaged status. Kate (Zoe Lister Jones) is single and has a successful career, but is not going to react well when she discovers that her one remaining single friend, Jules, is engaged.

The schedule that CBS announced is quite a departure for the network which has generally ignored the ongoing story type series for shows with self-contained episodes. And I think it can be argued that part of the reason for the network’s success in recent years is that model, which allows shows to be repeated, often out of sequence, which has allowed those shows to build audience where shows that have a tight sequential storyline can be repeated as readily. Two of the three dramas that CBS will be debuting this year have that sequential storyline as a key aspect. Admittedly Hostages appears to have been set up as a limited run series – I’m not sure what they can do for an encore after the series completes its run in January or February – but it seems to be a poor way to program a network if one of your big series can’t build on any success it might have. The description of Reckless at least holds a bit of promise beyond the initial storyline of the series. As for Intelligence, it is probably the most self-contained and therefore repeatable of the three dramas, but because of the subject matter it might be difficult to sell to the public who already isn’t in love with midseason series.

The comedies seem to be a mixed bag, which is a bit of a problem since CBS is making a big comedy push this season. The plot summary of We Are Men reminds me of a number of shows including Carpoolers, Welcome To The Captain, and Happy Hour. The common thread is that they were all dreary and they all died quickly. The Millers boasts an incredible cast, in Beau Bridges, Will Arnett and Margo Martindale and because of that it may have a shot but the premise of divorcing parents making their adult kids’ lives hell isn’t necessarily appealing (but remember I’m a guy who at best is lukewarm about comedies). Similarly Mom from Chuck Lorre goes to a pretty dark place and I’m not convinced that the great cast can do anything to make that more appealing. Friends With Better Lives just sounds like a tired concept that we’ve seen done before with a group of friends who are envious of what the others have. The one comedy that I’m interested in is The Crazy Ones, and that is mainly because I’m interested in seeing how Sarah Michelle Gellar will do playing off of Robin Williams. It could be a train wreck – which is what a lot of people commenting about the preview clip on YouTube seem to expect – or it could be great. I’m hoping for great because I think CBS could use some great with this line-up.

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