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CBS is solidifying its 2020-21 schedule.
Ahead of its recently announced plan to present its working schedule in a series of digital presentations as part of its May 18-19 “ViacomCBS Upfront @ Home,” the network has renewed 15 scripted series, including all three NCIS dramas and both of Dick Wolf’s FBI shows. Also set to return are the stalwart dramas Blue Bloods, Bull, MacGyver, Magnum P.I., SEAL Team, SWAT and the comedy The Neighborhood. CBS has also renewed four of its freshman programs, with All Rise, Chuck Lorre’s Bob Hearts Abishola and The Unicorn joining the spinoff FBI: Most Wanted. Veteran newsmagazines 60 Minutes and 48 Hours, as well as veteran competition series Undercover Boss, will also return.
Meanwhile, the Matt LeBlanc comedy Man With a Plan (which returned for its fifth season in early April), the rookie midseason multicam Broke (starring network favorite Pauley Perrette), the Patricia Heaton-led Carol’s Second Act and Edie Falco’s cop drama Tommy have all been canceled.
The 15 scripted shows included in Wednesday’s announcement join the previously picked up comedies Mom and The Big Bang Theory prequel Young Sheldon — both from Lorre — as well as Robert and Michelle King’s rookie drama Evil. (The unscripted staples Survivor and The Amazing Race were also previously picked up for next season.)
“Thanks to these exceptional shows, we’re going to win the current season by 1 million viewers,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl said in a statement. “Next year, we’ll have these strong returning series as our foundation … and Super Bowl LV, too. It’s a well-balanced lineup across entertainment, news and sports that will put us in an incredibly stable position for 2020-2021.”
The pickups arrive as there are more questions than answers about what exactly the 2020-21 broadcast season will look like, as it’s unclear when it will be considered safe to resume work after the novel coronavirus prompted a near-industrywide production shutdown. Production on returning series typically resumes after the Fourth of July holiday, but with no clear timeline for work to resume — or methods to ensure both cast and on-set crew can remain safe — sources say the typical September fall season launch is in jeopardy the longer the shutdown remains in place. Others note that a January launch could be more likely for scripted series.
The news comes as no surprise, given the network’s track record of making mass renewals ahead of the traditional upfront presentations. Many industry insiders have considered bubble shows to have the biggest advantage right now as only one of the broadcasters’ pilot slate was able to complete production before the massive shutdown. Broadcasters will now have to make new show pickups based largely on what little footage they have, multiple scripts and the strength of the cast assembled.
All told, CBS will return 18 scripted shows next season after the veterans Criminal Minds, Elementary, God Friended Me, Hawaii Five-0 and Madam Secretary all ended their runs earlier this season. Should the fall season start in September, the network would have room for six dramas and three comedies if it wishes to keep its total scripted volume the same as this season.
While the traditional upfront presentations that were set to take place next week have been canceled, ViacomCBS will hold a series of short digital presentations May 18-19 that will spotlight the conglomerate’s entire media portfolio, including CBS, cable networks and CBS All Access. The network’s fall slate will be unveiled then as well.
Keep track of all the renewals and cancellations with The Hollywood Reporter‘s handy scorecard here.
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