Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Upfront Watch: CBS

No egg-tossing required (and I was in an ideal position to do so, as Les Moonves sat at my table), as "HIMYM" made the schedule as rumored yesterday. You can read the press release here, but schedule breakdown and my thoughts to follow...

MONDAY
8:00-8:30 PM HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER
8:30-9:00 PM THE BIG BANG THEORY (N)
9:00-9:30 PM TWO AND A HALF MEN
9:30-10:00 PM RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI
TUESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM NCIS
9:00-10:00 PM THE UNIT
10:00-11:00 PM CANE (N)
WEDNESDAY
8:00-9:00 PM KID NATION (N)
9:00-10:00 PM CRIMINAL MINDS
10:00-11:00 PM CSI: NY
THURSDAY
8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR
9:00-10:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION
10:00-11:00 PM WITHOUT A TRACE (NT)
FRIDAY
8:00-9:00 PM GHOST WHISPERER
9:00-10:00 PM MOONLIGHT (N)
10:00-11:00 PM NUMB3RS
SATURDAY
8:00-9:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY
9:00-10:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY
10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS: MYSTERY
SUNDAY
7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES
8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (N)
9:00-10:00 PM COLD CASE
10:00-11:00 PM SHARK (NT)


Also, "Amazing Race" and "New Adventures of Old Christine" will be back at midseason, along with "Swingtown," a period drama about the sexual revolution in suburban Chicago in the mid-'70s (think "Ice Storm: The Series").

So, quick thoughts:
  • Clearly, "HIMYM" was never in that much danger, as CBS still trusts it to lead off the night. For whatever reason, Les likes to make producers sweat until the last minute.
  • "Viva Laughlin" (musical gangster story, remake of BBC's "Viva Blackpool," rumored to be Rob Thomas' landing spot if/when "Veronica Mars" gets canceled tomorrow), "Moonlight" (vampire private eye, with some "Buffy" and "Angel" alums as showrunners) and "Cane" (Cuban-American "Godfather") are all significant departures from what CBS usually does.
  • "Without a Trace" and "Shark" swap places. "Trace" will probably do better in its old timeslot than "Shark" did, and Thursday's a more valuable night than Sunday's because of movie and car advertising. (None of the new dramas were considered for this timeslot because they all have some serial elements, and CBS wants a night that will do well across the board all season; the Bruckheimer shows repeat much better than serials.)
  • "Kid Nation," a sort of reality "Lord of the Flies" where 40 kids are put in a town with no real adult supervision (aside from all those camera guys and sound men and producers, of course) could be interesting. If nothing else, it doesn't sound like any current reality concept, and the new ideas tend to be the ones that pop the most.
  • "Swingtown," wherever it debuts (10 o'clock timeslot mandatory, they said), will run straight through; CBS learned their lesson from the fast fade of "Jericho" after the winter hiatus.

Gotta write my official story now for the paper. I had hoped to watch "Veronica Mars" using my Slingbox, but my iBook currently hates me (it thinks it's New Year's Eve, 1969, and even after I changed the date back, it has a tendency to start freezing up and presenting weird light displays, so I'm afraid to touch it until I get to an Apple Store), and the computer I'm using at our New York office doesn't have the proper software to watch anything on the CW's website. Sorry. Cone of Silence remains.

48 comments:

Tobias said...

The date issue sounds like a problem with your battery -- had the same problem with mine a month or so ago.

Matt said...

I'll be shocked if Swingtown goes anywhere other than Tuesday at 10. They're not going to mess with the Bruckheimers at 10, and the demo overlap with Brothers and Sisters is too much.

And I expect Babylon Fields to get in on Sundays once Viva Laughlin (bizarre slot) fails.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised CBS didn't do the Trace/Shark swap earlier. It makes sense. Trace usually beat ER and Shark will do well enough to beat Brothers & Sisters.

When I first read about Kid Nation I couldn't help but think of a sketch from the Jamie Kennedy Experiment where he plays a network exec trying to get parents to sign their kids up for a horrifying Lord of the Flies reality series. I wish it was on youtube. It was hysterical.

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. I found it!

It's called Child Island!

http://thetravisty.com/Just_Funny/wmv/Jamie_Kennedy_-_Child_Island.htm

electricia said...

Great! Another "Vampire Private Eye" show. I tried liking "Blood Ties", I really did. Heck, I even managed to watch "Angel", on and off, and I love Joss Whedon... but if he can't make an interesting vampire PI, I don't know if anyone can.

Carrie said...

Jericho was truly terrible at the beginning, but I thought it really got good by the end of the season. I'm disappointed they gave up on it because I think with the right marketing push it could have been a strong player next year.

It's so interesting how the ratings have dropped off at the end of this season in general, even for hits like Heroes. Any theories on that, Alan? Is America just so fickle with programming now that it can't stand an eight week break with no new episodes, or is something else going on?

Pete said...

What is _The Big Bang Theory_?

Anonymous said...

The Big Bang Theory is a cosmological model in which the universe has been expanding for around 13.7 billion years, starting from a tremendously dense and hot state. Observational evidence for the Big Bang includes the analysis of the spectrum of light from galaxies, which reveal a shift towards longer wavelengths proportional to each galaxy's distance in a relationship described by Hubble's law. Combined with the assumption that observers located anywhere in the universe would make similar observations (the Copernican principle), this suggests that space itself is expanding. Extrapolation of this expansion back in time yields a state in the distant past in which all matter and energy was at an immense temperature and density.

But that's not important right now.

Steve said...

Any word on whether The Big Bang Theory has anyone involved that knows the slightest thing about physics or geek culture? The CBS press release lists it as executive produced by Two and a Half Men and Dharma and Greg alums, which doesn't seem like a hopeful sign.

I'm worried it will be filled with condescending stereotypes and incoherent babble about how the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle relates to love, or nonsense like that.

the2scoops said...

Yay, lunch with Moon Vest.

Very relieved to hear official word on HIMYM. Now the 3rd season can start with "-DARY."

Shame about Jericho, I thought it hit it's stride in the second half of the season. I don't suppose Sci-Fi network or USA would consider picking it up?

Sort of surprised to see "Big Bang" get a second go round. The premise is basically "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Particle Accelerator".

The first pilot didn't work out, and I thought Amanda Walsh (fellow Canuck who was great on Sons & Daughters) had dodged a bullet based on the concept. Now they've recast Kaley Cucuo (blond from 8 Simple Rules...) in the Amanada role. I give it 6, maybe 12 episodes.

the2scoops said...

Yay, lunch with Moon Vest.

Very relieved to hear official word on HIMYM. Now the 3rd season can start with "-DARY."

Shame about Jericho, I thought it hit it's stride in the second half of the season. I don't suppose Sci-Fi network or USA would consider picking it up?

Sort of surprised to see "Big Bang" get a second go round. The premise is basically "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Particle Accelerator".

The first pilot didn't work out, and I thought Amanda Walsh (fellow Canuck who was great on Sons & Daughters) had dodged a bullet based on the concept. Now they've recast Kaley Cucuo (blond from 8 Simple Rules...) in the Amanada role. I give it 6, maybe 12 episodes.

Filipe said...

Wow! CBS upfronts are not boring and full of new procedurals! I'd expect than to at least announce a couple of usual CBS shows as midseason replacements.

I also think that swaping Shark and Without a Trace will look good on fall and bad on the long run. Without a Trace will do better than shark but not as good as it used to do and so look like an old aging show (and that combined with CSI fading a little more will made perception of Thrusdays worse than it actually is). And Shark will beat Brothers and Sisters in September but will be loosing every week when both had a new episode by february sweeps and looking bad for it.

Anonymous said...

Jericho wasn't that bad. It was bland and mediocre enough to survive on network television. They got a bit more daring during the last quarter of the season, and if they done that throughout the season it might have been a better show. Again, they killed the show with the long absence. If I hadn't have done a Season Pass to it on my DVR, I would have forgotten all about it.

Matt said...

The thing is, Trace consistently beat ER in 2005-06. Shark went even with ER in 2006-07, and was getting beat by year-end. While there are a number of external factors (erosion of CSI as a lead-in, the "Grey's primed people to want to watch ER" theory, that ER apparently had a mild creative renaissance), moving Trace back makes complete sense.

And I don't see Shark beating Brothers and Sisters, which got really good after a rocky start, unless Housewives just melts down next year (an admitted possibility).

cg said...

Slingbox - The very best tech purchase I've made in the last 12 months!

I liked Jericho even though they sooooo under-utilized Gerald McRaney after his stellar Deadwood turn.

Adam said...

Grr . . . where's my g.d. Titus Pullo/Amber Tamblyn zombie Lawn Guyland show?

Also, TAR can use a little break. I'm fine with that.

jessica said...

I was also wondering about Babylon Fields. Since it's not on the schedule CBS just put out does that mean it's totally dead?

Isabel said...

Holding my breath until I hear the fate of Veronica Mars.....

Alan Sepinwall said...

Isabel, I would exhale now and then. I'm not hearing good things.

Andrew said...

Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that pilots often get picked up as midseason shows well after the May upfronts. I don't think Drive got any episodes ordered until well into the last TV season, so Bablyon Fields probably still has a chance.

Matt said...

Yeah, Veronica is toast.

Sunday--At least one magazine show for an hour, leaving maybe 2 hours open
Monday--3 returning comedies + 1 new one
Tuesday--Open
Wednesday--Almost certainly unchanged--Reality and OTH
Thursday--Almost certainly unchanged
Friday--Smackdown
Saturday--Movie

That means they've got no more than 4 hours to fill (probably less), and Gossip Girl (if they're going to be at all true to the books) is going to need to go at 9.

Anonymous said...

True. How are we going to be told what to think about social issues if they cancel Veronica Mars?

Taleena said...

I wonder how well Moonlight does compared to HBO's upcoming True Blood scheduled to air this fall. True Blood is based on a very popular mystery series with the advantage of a human protagonist. Charlaine Harris has a down to earth folksy style that juxtaposes well with the fantastical nature of her plots.

Anonymous said...

Gossip Girl is getting the OTH slot and OTH is likely to get GG one.

Dark Tyler said...

"Moonlight" (vampire private eye, with some "Buffy" and "Angel" alums as showrunners)

I didn't see any.

Re: "True Blood," well, it's from the man that brought us the greatest finale in the history of television, while "Moonlight" is executive produced by the guy that brought us, um, "Beauty & the Beast." (LOL) I'm gonna go with HBO on this one. ;)

Bubba said...

What is Crimetime Saturday? Repeats of CSI?

Matt said...

"Crimetime" is repeats of the various Bruckheimer procedurals--CSI's, Criminal Minds, WaT, very rarely, Cold Case.

Anonymous said...

Actually, rumors are CW is putting Beauty & the Geek on in the fall instead of swapping it out with Top Model at midseason. (I've been speculating this move for months, so I'm not at all surprised.) But word is OTH may wait until midseason and run 22 episodes uninterrupted. That news IS a surprise.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I didn't see any.

They were added after the pilot was made, according to somebody at CBS, which is why they're not mentioned on the release.

Dark Tyler said...

Oh, are you at liberty to disclose their names? (This probably means I'm going to be watching it now. After all, Marti Noxon is busy elsewhere, so.)

Alan Sepinwall said...

Don't know them. I was just told "We got some of the Buffy and Angel people to run it."

R.A. Porter said...

Dark Tyler, I didn't know Alan Ball had produced the Newhart finale. :)

And you shouldn't diss too hard on Beauty and the Beast. It wasn't to my taste, but it was finely crafted.

Dark Tyler said...

Oh, hey, I loved "Beauty & the Beast" when I was a kid. I'm even buying the DVD sets! It's just, you know... a naive romantic tale that got nowhere and had absolutely no mythology in it. It was basically just Vincent growling and throwing people on garbage cans, which was great for that show, but "Moonlight" is supposed to be mythology.

Let's hope that by "Buffy" people they mean... um, David Greenwalt? Who else is unemployed right now? Jeff Bell? Tim Minear? (LOL)

ooda said...

There were some rumors going around that Swingtown might be moved over the Showtime, but I guess that's a moot point now.

For some reason, Cane I'm really looking forward to (probably the most of any show), and Swingtown seems like a fun show.

A decent slate from CBS, and really indicative of just how strong they are right now.

k said...

um is anyone wondering who would let their kids be in a reality show like that...or am i missing the idea of kid nation. that seems like a really really bad parenting choice...other then that yippee HIMYM

Taleena said...

dark tyler - Tim Minear! oh no it'll get cancelled after 7 episodes tops!

I have to watch at least one episode of Swingtime because the male lead, Jack Davenport, is a dead ringer for my Brother in law. It makes everything he is in hilarious and increases my enjoyment of the Pirates movies exponetially.

R.A. Porter said...

Jane Sepinwall's unattached to anything (other than Buffy: Season 8) right now. Andy Richter broke my heart AGAIN.

zodin2008 said...

Yeah as well from me about HIMYM, thank GOD. But a damn shame about "Jericho".

Not only was it one of the best shows of the 2nd half of the TV year, but it's now the 2nd year in a row I have felt "Invasion"-like disappointment.

The shows and what happened are very similar...ongoing storylines, improved dramatically from slow start, big cliffhangers left unfinished.

Nicole said...

HBO's True Blood doesn't sound very different from Blood Ties on Lifetime right now. And Moonlight is a variation on Forever Knight with the protagonist vampire being a cop instead of a private eye. And that show also aired on CBS (albeit on late night).

In any case, I don't see this show lasting very long unless they get the Buffy/Angel crowd interested.

I would have also thought that Survivor would only be midseason because I think the show is getting tired, or maybe it's just me that is tired of it.

ooda said...

Even though I love Six Feet Under, and by extension, Alan Ball (though the commentary track on American Beauty was not too complimentary), I've heard that True Blood is somewhat on the campy side, at least to what we're expecting.

But then again, if there's anyone I would trust with a show like that, it would be Ball (making an analogy of vampire/gay seems obvious, and should play to Ball's strengths).

Matt said...

Jane Espenson, per her blog, has a gig on BSG and a development deal with NBC/Universal. She's not going to CBS.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And she and I are not related.

Taffy said...

Alan,

A lot of fans of cancelled shows are sending petitions to save their program. In the beginning,I thought "Jericho" was a hoot (the rolling hills of Kansas and the never ending candle factory are just two examples). Then after the break, the writers really seemed to hit their stride.

Over at the CBS/Jericho board people are being encouraged to not only send hate mail to the network but also send emails to TNT and/or SciFi to pick up the show.

Is this even a remote possibility for this or any other cancelled show>

Anonymous said...

What was on the Six Feet Under dvds that wasn't complimentary?

Now I'm really curious!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Is this even a remote possibility for this or any other cancelled show>

In a word, no.

Matt said...

As I understand, Alan Ball's script for "American Beauty" had a whole additional ending with the kids being tried for the murder of Lester, and was substantially reworked by Mendes.

And the only way a cancelled show would get saved is if it were fairly well rated and extremely cheap. That's not the case for anything here.

Taleena said...

Re: True Blood

If you read the Charlaine Harris books, the first is Dead Until Dark, there is a strong humorous vein that runs through the books - a Vampiric Elvis makes numerous appearances. There are some real dark scenes as well and plenty of good looking people.

I hope it doesn't turn campy but how similar it is to Blood Ties I couldn't say. That is based on Tanya Huff's novel series which I have never read.

Dark Tyler said...

Nicole, CBS doesn't strike me as the kind of network that would actually care about the Buffy crowd. I just hope that they get someone good and therefore, the show will be good. If it only gets Whedon's fans, they couldn't possibly be enough.

And it's produced by Warner which basically means that CBS will not care about the potential DVD sales, right?

My fear with all things CBS is that if a show is truly interesting, it will fail. If it succeeds, then it must be something like The Ghost Whisperer.