Network Upfronts Preview: CBS

CBS-Logo-e1331750370386CBS is down 17 percent compared to last season.  Sure, the Super Bowl has a bit to do with the double-digit drop, but so does the deteriorating Monday night lineup (10 o’clock dramas included), Thursday post-The Big Bang Theory, and Sunday night.   CBS did; however, make some progress in other trouble spots.  Friday nights finally found a solid 9pm series in Hawaii Five-0 and Person of Interest has done well for itself on Tuesday.  CBS does have major help coming in the fall though with Thursday Night Football for the first eight weeks of the NFL season and four or five weeks of the 2014-15 television season.  With the NFL mixed in, it should make for some interesting schedule predictions!

MONDAY(during football)
8 – 2 Broke Girls
830 – How I Met Your Dad (new comedy)
9 – The Big Bang Theory (new night and time)
930 – Mom
10 – NCIS: Los Angeles (new night and time)
Analysis: Okay, this is obviously no where near perfect.  There’s a reason I left 2 Broke Girls at 8 o’clock though.  Its already moved so many times and aired in three different timeslots this season.  I don’t see CBS moving it for a few weeks only to have it move again.  It’s done, and likely staying there.  How I Met Your Dad has a built-in name and should bring at least some of the audience from How I Met Your Mother to the timeslot.  It shouldn’t need much of a lead in.  The Big Bang Theory gets its chance to shine at 9pm for a few weeks and provide support for the best new comedy of this season, Mom.  CBS is looking for something to fill the 10 o’clock timeslot, likely going to a veteran.  Given Person of Interest moved this season, NCIS: Los Angeles seems to be the favorite.  I don’t see CBS going with a new series after the dismal returns from Hostages and Intelligence.

MONDAY (post-football)
8 – 2 Broke Girls
830 – How I Met Your Dad
9 – Mom (new time)
930 – Mike and Molly (new time)
10 – NCIS: Los Angeles
Analysis: The only thing CBS would have to change is the 9 o’clock hour.  Mom will receive The Big Bang Theory lead in for a few weeks and then shift to the tentpole 9pm hour.  Hopefully enough of the audience sticks around to make the move.  Mike and Molly has done okay at 9pm, but it needs to shift a half hour later.

8 – NCIS
9 – Battle Creek (new drama)
10 – Person of Interest
Analysis: NCIS won’t be going anywhere.  I’d really like to see Battle Creek get a solid timeslot, and nothing seems more prime than between a mega-hit (NCIS) and solid ten o’clock option (Person of Interest).  That should give Battle Creek a big bounce and it shouldn’t bring down the rest of the night if it fails.

8 – Survivor
9 – Criminal Minds
10 – CSI
Analysis: With so many moves on the rest of the schedule, look for Wednesday nights to remain the same yet again this season.  All three are down year-to-year, but still remain strong after all these years.  Changes may come midseason though.

8 – Thursday Night Football

THURSDAY (post-football)
8 – The Big Bang Theory
830 – The Odd Couple (new comedy)
9 – Two and a Half Men (final season)
930 – The Millers (new time)
10 – Elementary
AnalysisThe Big Bang Theory returns to its lead off spot to dominate the night once again.  CBS seems keen on giving a CBS Studios series the prime 830 timeslot, so go with something not named The Millers.  The Odd Couple has the built-in name, a recognizable star (hey Matthew Perry), and the possible cushy timeslot.  After all, Matthew Perry has to have a hit eventually, right?  Two and a Half Men returns to 9 o’clock after the NFL and airs 16 final episodes.  Given CBS’ love for The Millers, it airs at 930, where it should at least hold most of Two and a Half Men.  Third year drama Elementary rounds out the night again this season.

8 – Undercover Boss
9 – Hawaii Five-0
10 – Blue Bloods
Analysis: The three Friday night series have done well, so don’t expect any changes.

7 – 60 Minutes
8 – The Amazing Race
9 – The Good Wife
10 – ???
Analysis: I honestly don’t even know what to do here.  CBS seems to have so much on its plate with Monday and Thursday that touching Sunday doesn’t seem likely.  It could happen, except the fact current 10pm series, The Mentalist, is probably going to be cancelled at the end of this season.  CSI may inherit the timeslot, but that means a chance to Wednesdays too.  Your guess is as good as mine for the night.

As for other new series to get a series pickup, I would place by bets on comedy The McCarthys, as well as dramas Madam Secretary, and either CSI: Cyber or NCIS: New Orleans.  I expect CSI: Cyber to get the go-ahead, simply based on the fact CSI is bigger internationally, although a NCIS: New Orleans pick-up would not surprise me.

Coming tomorrow: CW


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