May 7, 2013

THE SKED’S Pre-Upfront Projected CBS Fall Schedule


See Also:  THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected NBC Fall 2013 Schedule

                 THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected FOX Fall 2013 Schedule

                 THE SKED’s Pre-Upfront Projected ABC Fall 2013 Schedule

We’re continuing with SHOWBUZZDAILY‘s versions of the Fall 2013 network schedules, which may or may not reflect what the networks will actually announce at their Upfront presentations next week.  These schedules, as usual, were put together by Mitch Metcalf and myself, along with former NBC Head of Current Programming Ted Frank.  Note: our pilot choices are based on the show’s auspices (creator, producers, cast) and premise, and our sense of its potential match with the shows around it and its competition.  Some of these predictions will inevitably prove to be misguided.  (Although that won’t mean we were wrong.)  Also, many more pilots will be picked up than we have listed in these charts, with the remainder debuting throughout the course of next season.

We’ve arrived at the last network standing, the home base for broadcast television–CBS:

Upfront 2013 Predicted CBS GridThe bell has been tolling for CBS, too.  Not as loudly as for the other broadcasters, but it’s still easy enough to hear.  CBS will finish the season a strong #1–Mitch Metcalf has it projected for a 2.41 average, more than three-tenths of a point ahead of anyone else–but a chunk of that comes solely from airing the Super Bowl.  Even with the biggest event of the TV year, CBS will be down 3% from last season, and it’s poised for a really ugly plunge next year when the game airs on FOX.  Its veteran shows are largely fading, and more than any other network, CBS is constructed out of veteran shows.  Nevertheless, next season the network will opt, as always, for stability (it’s already renewed most of its current series), and there aren’t likely to be many changes to its line-up.

MONDAY:  CBS’s biggest scheduling move last fall was to shift 2 1/2 Men to Thursday and move 2 BROKE GIRLS into the 9PM Monday anchor slot.  The result has been underwhelming:  even last May, long after the hype over Charlie Sheen’s departure and Ashton Kutcher’s arrival gave Men a giant season debut, Men was doing a 3.7 at 9PM on Mondays.  On the parallel night last week, Girls only managed a 2.5, not even the highest rating CBS had that night.  2 1/2 Men, aging and expensive, isn’t a long-term play, and there’s good reason to open up its slot on Thursday next season, as we’ll see below.  With HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER entering its final season, we’d shore up Monday by putting 2 1/2 Men back in its old slot and returning 2 Broke Girls to 8:30, setting that show up for a move to either 8PM or 9PM if needed in 2014-15. MIKE & MOLLY and HAWAII 5-0 are both significantly down from last season, with about one-third of their respective ratings gone, but neither is yet a problem, so they should stay where they are.  (Soon enough, though, it may be time for Hawaii to move to the glue factory of Fridays.)

TUESDAY:  NCIS is no longer a blockbuster, but it’s held steady at around a 3, and that’s more than good enough against The Voice. NCIS LA, though, has suffered more serious erosion, down to a 2.2 last week from 3.0 in the parallel week last season.  That’s still acceptable–for now.  CBS will need a new 10PM entry after the failures of Vegas and Golden Boy, and its highest-profile drama pilot is BEVERLY HILLS COP, about the son of Eddie Murphy’s character (Murphy himself will recur on the series).  It hails from Shawn Ryan of The Shield, so there may be more than a presold cash-grab here.

WEDNESDAY:  SURVIVOR remains remarkably spry, even airing against American IdolCRIMINAL MINDS and CSI are more entries in CBS’s “seriously aging” ledger–and yes, at CBS they still use a ledger–with next fall bringing, respectively, Seasons 9 and 14 for the pair.  They’re each down more than 20% from May 2012 and without a lot of tread left in their tires.  At the moment, though, they’re still holding their own.

THURSDAY;  THE BIG BANG THEORY, of course, remains at 8PM.  Following that show with the even older 2 1/2 Men wastes the best lead-in on the network’s line-up, so as noted, we’d send Men back to Mondays.  and use 8:30 to launch the network’s biggest comedy, which from all accounts is MOM, the new Chuck Lorre show with Anna Faris and Allison Janney.  If Mom hits, it’s an easy move in 2014-15 to Mondays, which will need a strong anchor once How I Met Your Mother ends its run.  There’s been talk about CBS going to a 4-sitcom Thursday, especially with The Office leaving NBC, but PERSON OF INTEREST and ELEMENTARY have been an effective combo, and CBS has never been quick to break up a night that works.  Also, moving Person to 10PM would probably weaken it, especially if the new hour of sitcoms didn’t click.

FRIDAY:  UNDERCOVER BOSS and BLUE BLOODS do fine (or the Friday version of “fine”).  The time has come, though, for CSI NY to make its way to the autopsy table, and for THE MENTALIST to take its place after the latter show hasn’t been able to capitalize against absurdly weak post-football competition on ABC and NBC.

SUNDAY:  60 MINUTES and THE AMAZING RACE stay as-is.  There are very valid reasons for keeping THE GOOD WIFE on the air–it’s (arguably, if you insist) the highest-quality show on the network, and has a steady, affluent audience.   But it’s not capable of serving as an effective lead-in.  Next season, Sunday 10PM will feature something new on ABC and (post-football) either low-rated Celebrity Apprentice or something new on NBC–a good perch for Good Wife.  We’d use Race to launch something new, with one possibility being BACKSTROM, yet another troubled detective procedural, but with the promising auspices of Rainn Wilson fresh off The Office as the star (and Mamie Gummer and Dennis Haysbert for support), and Hart Hanson of Bones as series creator.

Where did we get it wrong?  Tell us below!


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."