May 17, 2017




See our analysis of the fall line-ups for NBC, FOX and ABC.

CBS always has the same story to tell at this time of year.  It portrays itself, with some accuracy, as television’s bastion of consistency, where hit shows run for years and years (and years and years and years), and even the new series fit neatly with the veterans.  This season, though, like a Hollywood actor who’s had that one bit of plastic surgery too many, time started to catch up with CBS.  NCIS, Criminal Minds and even The Big Bang Theory, showed their age, dropping beyond the level of normal network erosion. Meanwhile, one tradition that CBS would like to forget held true, which is that none of its new shows managed more than the most modest success.  To all this, the network’s Fall 2017 schedle says:  More of the same!

The CBS Fall 2017 primetime schedule has been added to the grid below.  On Monday, the first comedy lineup runs September 25-October 23 (with a special preview of Young Sheldon at 8:30 pm on September 25 and 9JKL debuting the next week). The second comedy block listed on Monday starts Oct 30. On Thursday, the entertainment lineup listed starts November 2 after NFL Thursday night football ends its CBS run.

Network Schedule Fall 2017 NBC FOX ABC CBS

MONDAY:  As has been the case since CBS started carrying THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL, its Monday line-up features THE BIG BANG THEORY for the first 6 weeks of the season while its usual slot is occupied, using it to launch a new sitcom.  This year it’s 9JKL, a multicamera that may have the most CBS sitcom premise ever:  Mark Feuerstein as a man living in an apartment whose next-door neighbors on both sides are his parents and siblings–hilarity ensues! During that 6 weeks, KEVIN CAN WAIT slides to 9PM to serve as lead-in to ME, MYSELF & I, which is a little more adventurous, but in a LIFE IN PIECES structural kind of way:  each episode intercuts between the same character at 14, 40 and 65 (the middle-aged version is played by SNL‘s Bobby Moynihan).  Neither of these raise much hope of being a game-changer.  After football is done, KEVIN goes back to 8PM, ME, MYSELF & I takes the 9PM slot, and SUPERIOR DONUTS returns.  In both iterations, SCORPION keeps its 10PM home.

TUESDAY:  NCIS, BULL and NCIS: NEW ORLEANS stay put, and CBS hopes to stop the ratings bleeding.

WEDNESDAY.  After SURVIVORCRIMINAL MINDS moves to 10PM to create a hammock for SEAL TEAM, another of the military-themed dramas that will dot the fall schedules.  The slot should help the new show, since SURVIVOR has been remarkably stable, but CRIMINAL MINDS has been slipping already, and this could push it to even weaker territory.

THURSDAY:  Once football is over, BIG BANG returns home and (duh) serves as the lead-in for YOUNG SHELDON.  Although that seems like a sure thing, it’s worth noting that it’s being done single-camera, so the feel will be different, and also that Warner Bros owns the show and is probably charging quite a bit for it. After MOM and LIFE IN PIECES, new procedural SWAT will face off against HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and the Dick Wolf MENENDEZ KILLINGS limited series, and may hold its own.

FRIDAY:  MACGYVER, HAWAII 5-0 and BLUE BLOODS return, although they’ll face an unprecedented level of competition from scripted shows on (pending CW) every other network, a collection of series Les Moonves has already disparaged as an “island of misfit toys.”  CBS makes its money from international and ancillary rights on its procedurals, which should continue to be strong.

SUNDAY:  NCIS: LA and MADAM SECRETARY move an hour to make way for WISDOM OF THE PEOPLE, another procedural and one that sounds a bit like FOX’s failed APB, as a tycoon (Jeremy Piven) uses high-tech to solve crimes.



About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."