May 18, 2011

THE SKED: Thoughts on CBS’s Schedule (and Our Predictions)

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Written by: Mitch Salem


NEW SHOWS in CAPS. New Time Periods in Italics
WHAT WE LIKE: With five new shows, CBS provides lead-ins to four of them, asking only A Gifted Man (Patrick Wilson as a surgeon whose dead ex-wife returns) to open a night (Friday).  The two new comedies at 8:30 Monday and Thursday have very compatible lead-ins, and Unforgettable (Poppy Montgomery as a former detective who remembers every detail of her life) should fit nicely on Tuesday with the crime/detective NCIS block leading in.  It was time to move CSI out of the key Thursday at 9 time period, and CBS has replaced it with Person of Interest (from red-hot JJ Abrams and starring Jim Caviezel).  If a crime thriller can be noisy and attention getting, JJ Abrams can deliver it and jump start a critical spot on the schedule.

WHAT WE DON’T LIKE:  Rules of Engagement has been a very solid performer wherever it has been told to go.  Now it has been sent to Saturday to be the lone original scripted show on the night.  Yes, Saturday is the ancestral home of a CBS comedy block that featured hall of famers All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, and Bob Newhart Show, but that was before Saturday was, well, SaturdayMost likely, Rules will mark time on the night until it is needed to replace failure on either Monday or Thursday.  CSI Wednesday at 10 will make for a battle of the aging heavyweights, and we would give a slight edge to SVU since it has shown a little spring in its step in recent ratings (since moving back to 10 pm), while CSI has just continued to trend down.  This is perhaps a missed opportunity to place a strong new crime drama after the still strong Criminal Minds
WHERE WE GOT IT RIGHT AND WRONG:  Our picks for the CBS 8:30 comedies were exactly right (although we did not see Rules on Saturday coming — and neither will the audience).  On the drama side, our picks for the new series were generally right — but the placement was off.  Our move of CSI back to its original home on Friday (and not renewing CSI: New York) would have allowed for a new crime drama to breathe some life into Wednesday at 10, but CBS clearly feels CSI has more potential left than we do.  We had Good Wife staying Tuesday at 10, but CBS’s move of the show to Sunday makes much more sense (not because Good Wife will light the world on fire on Sunday but because a crime drama after NCIS has much more upside).

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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."