'Brother' a keeper on CBS sked

Three hours of reality series part of midseason lineup

CBS' strike-affected midseason lineup will include three hours of the first-ever in-season "Big Brother," the return of "The New Adventures of Old Christine," "Jericho" and "Power of 10" and the debut of the comedy "The Captain."

Meanwhile, "Law & Order" will rejoin NBC's schedule in January in its longtime Wednesday 10 p.m. slot along with repurposed episodes of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."

CBS on Monday became the second network after Fox to announce a comprehensive midseason schedule impacted by the strike.

Taking a break on Mondays are the promising freshman comedy "The Big Bang Theory" and the sophomore comedy "Rules of Engagement," which wrapped production early because of the strike.

Starting Jan. 28, "Christine" will move into its original Monday 9:30 p.m. slot, following "Two and a Half Men," while the single-camera "Captain" will be sandwiched between "How I Met Your Mother" and "Men" at 8:30 p.m.

Also benched are two Tuesday dramas: the low-rated freshman "Cane" and the military-themed drama "The Unit," which had struggled at 9 p.m. against Fox's hit "House." They will be replaced by "Big Brother" and "Jericho," which both will premiere Feb. 12.

The Tuesday installment of "Brother" will be joined by a Wednesday edition at 8 p.m., which debuts Feb. 13, and a Sunday one at 8 p.m., which launches Feb. 17.

That is close to the reality show's summer scheduling pattern, when it airs Tuesday at 9 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m.

In-season, the Thursday 8 p.m. time period belongs to "Survivor," whose 16th installment premieres Feb. 7.

In the Wednesday 8 p.m. hour now occupied by "Kid Nation," "Brother" will succeed "Power," which will run for six weeks beginning Jan. 2.

Remaining intact are CBS' Thursday and Friday lineups, leaving "Moonlight" as the network's only freshman series to make it to midseason. Given the poor repeatability of serialized dramas, CBS is sticking with procedurals for the second half of the season, when all scripted series will run out of originals and switch to reruns if the writers strike is not resolved soon.

Additionally, the six-hour miniseries "Comanche Moon" will air from 9-11 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, Tuesday, Jan. 15 and Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Two installments of "48 Hours Mystery" will air in the Tuesday 10 p.m. hour Jan. 22 and Jan. 29.

At NBC, the 18th season of "L&O," featuring new cast additions Jeremy Sisto and Linus Roache, will kick off with a two-hour premiere Jan. 2 and move into its regular Wednesday 10 p.m. slot the next week, when "L&O: CI" launches as its lead-in at 9 p.m.

Both shows are returning after months of cancellation speculation last season and a dramatic eleventh-hour renewal that included a move of "L&O: CI" to sister cable network USA and a second window on NBC.

Last season, veteran "L&O" was shifted from its longtime Wednesday 10 p.m. home to Fridays at 10 p.m. The show's mastermind, Dick Wolf, repeatedly had indicated that he would like to see the crime drama return to its old time period.

"Jeremy and Linus bring a new energy to the cast, and we hope the return to our longtime time slot of Wednesday at 10 will bring renewed success to the show, not just from our core fans but from a new generation of viewers as well," Wolf said.