11:00am PT by Michael O'Connell
CBS Trims JonBenet Doc to 4 Hours, Supersizes 'NCIS: LA' Sunday Premiere
CBS' The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey has been trimmed to a four-hour, two-night event.
The network's big true-crime swing was originally supposed to wrap up with a third two-hour episode on Sept. 25, but sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that recent talks with producers Critical Content led to a decision that the documentary miniseries would be better served with a four-hour run.
In its place, CBS has moved up the Sunday debut of NCIS: Los Angeles. The two-hour special, originally set to air on Oct. 2 and Oct. 9, will now debut at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Sept. 25 — barring any additional NFL overrun.
CBS' JonBenet Ramsey project, a blend of recreation and interviews not unlike HBO's The Jinx, was the first special announced to be timed to the 20-year anniversary of the six-year-old's brutal murder. It ended up just being one in a barrage of related programs. A&E, NBC's Dateline, Investigation Discovery, Dr. Phil and HLN have all since announced (or aired) projects about the famous unsolved case that had a stranglehold on U.S. media for much of 1996.
Should The Case Of prove successful, there has been talk of interest in further true-crime collaborations with Critical Content. The genre has been especially hot since The Jinx and Netflix's similar Making a Murderer made true crime a new ratings, pop culture and Emmy-friendly programming plan.
For the network's purposes, a two-hour Sunday launch for NCIS: LA (with football and 60 Minutes as a lead-in) also is a strong strategy in getting the procedural's substantial audience to know about the move over from Mondays.
CBS' first outing for The Case Off faces formidable competition for ratings. It has been scheduled against the Primetime Emmys, set to air this Sunday on ABC. It will conclude the following night, as the 2016-17 broadcast season kicks into full gear.