CBS reveals fall schedule
"Mentalist" shifts to Thursday slotConfident CBS executives took to the Carnegie Hall stage Wednesday with an upbeat story of audience growth as the network attempted to paint a stark contrast to its rivals.
As the only broadcaster to improve its viewership measurements this season, CBS emphasized its stability with a fall lineup featuring another traditional sitcom and three new dramas with genres that seemed symmetrically calibrated to continue giving viewers a traditional range of procedural programming: cops, doctors and lawyers.
"CBS can offer something the other guys can't -- lots of plus signs and up arrows," CBS Corp. president Leslie Moonves told advertisers in New York. "We're the only network showing growth in every category. 'Flat' is not the new 'up,' despite what you have heard."
Moonves and other CBS execs came down particularly hard on NBC for its decision to replace scripted programming with a Jay Leno talk show at 10 p.m. next fall.
"There's a big difference between the broadcast model being broken and not being able to find any new hit shows for years," Moonves said. "We don't make Page Six as much as the other guys, but we make the Nielsen Top 10 a lot more."
CBS criticized the Leno move while simultaneously seeking to reap its benefits.
"There will be more share available at 10 p.m. for those of us who put on great dramas," Moonves said during a news conference earlier in the day.
Exhibit A: CBS is moving its breakout hit "The Mentalist" to Thursdays at 10 p.m., giving the show a "CSI" lead-in.
"We saw an opportunity to take a strong show and make it a stronger show," CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl said.
CBS TV Studios-produced drama "Medium" landed on the CBS schedule a day after it was canceled by NBC. It will be sandwiched between paranormal drama "Ghost Whisperer" and crime drama "Numbers" on Friday.
"If 'Ghost Whisperer' and 'Numbers' had an offspring, it would be 'Medium,' " CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler said of the Patricia Arquette starrer, a crime procedural with paranormal elements.
On Tuesdays, the network will pair "NCIS" with the "NCIS" spinoff, which will be called "NCIS: Los Angeles," following the pattern of city-based spinoff titles established by "CSI."
"It's the same brand of humor, it's the same sensibility," Tassler said of the spinoff. "It's got a built-in audience."
Kahl pointed out that "NCIS: Los Angeles" will be the only scripted series in its time period, which successfully launched "Mentalist" last season.
"If you don't want to watch reality, we're the only game in town there," he said.
Rounding out the new Tuesday lineup at 10 p.m. is the new Julianna Margulies legal drama "The Good Wife."
On Monday, CBS is going with a Chuck Lorre block. After experimenting with putting "The Big Bang Theory" following "Two and a Half Men" this season, the network is making the "Big Bang" shift to 9:30 p.m. permanent, leaving "How I Met Your Mother" to open the night, leading into new comedy "Accidentally on Purpose."
"We're trying to take 'Big Bang' from a Top 20 show to a Top 10 show," Kahl said. "We feel confident we can blow this show up."
Medical show "Three Rivers," with former "Moonlight" star Alex O'Loughlin, will run at 9 p.m. Sundays, with "Cold Case" shifted to 10 p.m.
The network's other new medical drama, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced "Miami Trauma," will launch in midseason. Also slotted for midseason are Canadian drama "The Bridge" and unscripted series "Arranged Marriage" and "Undercover Boss."
"It's a cohesive schedule with few changes," said Campbell Mithun ad buyer John Rash. "The addition of 'Medium' on Fridays and 'Big Bang' going after 'Two and a Half Men' on Mondays will hopefully help solidify those nights."
The only broadcast network to grow this season, CBS canceled veteran shows "Without a Trace" and "The Unit." The cancellations were reflective of CBS' overall strength this season; both shows were fairly solid performers that CBS' rivals would likely have found a way to keep.
"We want to continue to get younger; we think the schedule reflects that," Tassler said, referring to actors such as L.L. Cool J from the "NCIS" spinoff.
As for the ratings erosion on the main "CSI" series following the transition from William Petersen to Laurence Fishburne as the new leading man, Tassler said the network has been talking to the show's producers about creative changes and didn't rule out casting additions.
Here is CBS' fall schedule:
8 p.m. How I met Your Mother*
8:30 p.m. ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE
9 p.m Two and a Half Men
9:30 p.m. The Big Bang Theory*
10 p.m. CSI: Miami
8 p.m. NCIS
9 p.m. NCIS: LOS ANGELES
10 p.m. THE GOOD WIFE
8 p.m. The New Adventures of Old Christine
8:30 p.m. Gary Unmarried
9 p.m. Criminal Minds
10 p.m. CSI: NY
8 p.m. Survivor
9 p.m. CSI
10 p.m. The Mentalist*
8 p.m. Ghost Whisperer
9 p.m. MEDIUM
10 p.m. Numbers
8 p.m. Crime drama repeat
9 p.m. Crime drama repeat
10 p.m. 48 Hour Mystery
7 p.m. 60 Minutes
8 p.m. The Amazing Race
9 p.m. THREE RIVERS
10 p.m. Cold Case*
New series in CAPS
* indicates new time slot