CBS, ABC in midseason form

Eye gives 'Island' the 'CSI' lead-in

CBS' new mystery series "Harper's Island" will receive the network's strongest lead-in next year when the show launches after "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

The 13-episode "Island" — a "Ten Little Indians"-style thriller in which guests at a wedding are killed off one by one — will step in for "Eleventh Hour" at 10 p.m. Thursdays starting April 9 and will run into midsummer. On Monday, CBS announced five more episodes for "Eleventh Hour," a shorter order than a full season, to accommodate the plan.

The network also scheduled the return of the Canadian drama "Flashpoint" to Friday nights. The crime drama held up impressively in the summer for the network and returns at 9 p.m. Jan. 9, filling the spot vacated by "The Ex List." The network has long sought a strong drama to bridge the gap between "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numbers" and hopes "Flashpoint" will deliver.

In addition, CBS will air Ashton Kutcher's new series "Game Show in My Head" on Saturday nights starting Jan. 3. The hidden-camera show is hosted by Joe Rogan, with contestants performing five outrageous and embarrassing tasks for a chance to win as much as $50,000.

In a season where most networks' spring schedule will barely resemble their fall skeds, CBS' midseason lineup boasts few changes and few surprises. "Flashpoint" performed well on Fridays previously, and the network has an opening, so it's going back where it worked before. "Eleventh Hour" has been placing second in its time period, and trying "Island" in this valuable slot gives the new project the best possible chance to succeed.

CBS hasn't had much luck with the game show genre in primetime, and given how well its scripted programming is performing, declining to shift any of the other shows to accommodate a new unscripted series isn't a big surprise. (partialdiff)