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CBS Fall 2012 Schedule Analysis - TV Media Insights - TV Ratings & News - Network TV Show Reviews and Daily Ratings

CBS Fall 2012 Schedule Analysis

May 23, 2012 by Marc Berman in Highlights with 8 Comments

FALL LINE-UP REPORT

Four New Series; Changes on Five Nights

As always, CBS is best positioned for the future with a returning roster of hits that include the strongest comedies, the highest quality reality, and an abundance of dramas that continue to resonate. Only two of the three CSI’s on the fall line-up is no surprise: the network axed 10-year-old CSI: Miami with David Caruso. Nor is the still heavy reliance on crime solvers. If it works, and it still does very well, there is no reason to “fix” it.

Most surprising on CBS’ schedule, perhaps, was the absence of a rumored two-hour Thursday comedy block. The Eye net, instead, opted to keep freshman hit Person of Interest in in the Thursday 9 p.m. hour, but with different lead-in support: Two and a Half Men.

Last year at this time, pundits were busy handicapping the future of Two and a Half Men. Will it work with Ashton Kutcher? Or will bad boy Charlie Sheen get the last laugh? The sampling, as expected, was enormous, and the early fall tune-in carried the sitcom to year-to-year rating gains. But facing both Dancing With the Stars on ABC and The Voice on NBC in midseason took some toll, and waning curiosity was reflected in the numbers. While Ashton and company will now have the lead-in support of red-hot The Big Bang Theory, a better move would have been to find a promising new entry instead of show losing steam creatively. The future of any network falls heavily in young product that can carry it into the future and that is not Two and a Half Men anymore.

Remember all those years NBC squandered the lead-in support from sitcoms like Friends and Seinfeld? CBS, at present, is doing the same with The Big Bang Theory.

2 Broke Girls, which was expected to move to Thursday, will now inherit the Monday 9 p.m. half-hour out of new Max Mutchnick and David Kohan comedy Partners (and into Mike & Molly). And there is every reason to believe that this season’s new breakout hit comedy will keep the imperative Monday 9 p.m. half-hour alive and well on the house of hits next season. Excluding the fall of 1984 (when a strike delayed the start of the season), CBS has aired a comedy in the Monday 9 p.m. half-hour every season since I Love Lucy in 1951. 2 Broke Girls, no doubt, is clearly worthy of being the next “A” lister to inherit that honor.

With a schedule any competing programmer would envy, there was only a new for four new series on CBS (dramas Vegas, Elementary and Made in Jersey and aforementioned sitcom Partners). And unlike any competitor, each of the new entries has proven lead-in support (yes…lead-in still matters) and each stands a better chance of finding an audience than it would have elsewhere. But the two disadvantages of airing on CBS are 1) the higher expectations; and 2) the potential older skew. Approximately 11-million viewers for a drama like Unforgettable, for example, was not good enough for a second season. Nor was a respectable delivery for A Gifted Man in the very difficult Friday 8 p.m. hour.

While most dramas on CBS deliver in total viewers (exlcuding canceled NYC 22, perhaps), the obstacle they face is the older skew. Foolishly, advertisers do not want to reach anyone over age 50. And that philosophy is unlikely to change anytime in the near future.

Overall, CBS has a solid fall schedule, peppered with returning hits and a quartet of promising new programs. No network has planned as well as this one has over the years, and the Eye net is worthy of accolades aplenty. But since CBS is not without its weaknesses, here are a few. Returning The Good Wife was not exactly a big draw on Sunday, the remaining two occupants in the CSI franchise are down, and Saturday is another wash. If there was one network that could attempt to rejuvenate the evening, it is CBS. But chances of that ever happening are nil.

Since the goal of every network is to program responsibly, there is one more bone to pick with the Eye net. While even a deteriorating CSI: NY with Gary Sinise, which shifts to Fridays at 8 p.m., is likely to deliver more viewers A Gifted Man, something this violent does not belong in what was once referred to as the “Family Viewing Hour.” Too bad that rule does not exist anymore.

Grade for CBS: A-

Written by Marc Berman

Marc Berman

Marc Berman is the Editor in Chief for TV Media Insights, the online destination for television and media. Berman has appeared on camera for Extra, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The CBS Evening News, CNN, and more; and his 2014 desk calendar, “Today in TV History,” is presently available.

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/wiseguy/ wiseguy

    I disagree with your criticism of the 2 1/2 Men move… CBS for years had a problem in the post CSI Thursday slot – and after moving The Mentalist and CSI into it’s own problem slot and it solved the issue. And they did the same thing eventually with the Wed slot by moving CSI there. Now they are ready to open it up again for a new offering. How many “promising new entries” have to falter in the post Big Bang slot? As many as did post Friends? This was a smart move to build a solid Thursday night….

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/marcberman/ Marc Berman

    But what happens in the fall of 2013 if then 10-year old Two and a Half Men ends?

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/maryanne/ MaryAnne

    I think CBS made a mistake with The Good Wife moving it to Sunday night. Especially bad during football season. Now this fall The Good Wife will be up against Revenge on ABC, I think that will hurt CBS during football season.

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/marcberman/ Marc Berman

    I agree, Mary Anne. I would have flipped The Good Wife with The Mentalist.

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/rambeau/ RamBeau

    I’ll begin by giving my grade for CBS…since I promised that ABC would be receiving my highest grade I’m giving the first place network a B-.

    I’m not one to harp on about the success of something like most have been aboard the CBS eyewagon – instead I’ll give an unbiased “opinion” of what I see is happening with this network. It’s doing some really good things and it’s doing some really bad things.

    I’m not as funny or clever as Jimmy Kimmel so I can’t come up with witty one liners about how old the average CBS viewer is, all I can use is the ‘eye’ test (I can be a little clever) and my eyes tell me that there’s very little on this network for a younger person. The main reason that I can tell it’s closed the gap in the 18-49 demo is that American Idol has slipped a bit. I do think Fox will re-bound, which I’ll cover in their review.

    Only 4 new series? Really CBS? Believing your own hype, are you? 3 dramas and only 1 sitcom to boot. Actually 2 of the dramas do seem a little different than the procedural du jour that you’ve been force feeding us for the past umpteen years and I thank you for that. I also thank you for not placing some random letters alongside their names which would equal instant turn out for me. But to think that everything you’re doing is working is just pompous. If it were all working then you should be winning every night in every demo. Unrealistic, yes…but it’s the message I’m receiving.

    I can find a glaring failure in every night of the week:
    Sunday – The Good Wife isn’t working here and I highly question burying The Mentalist (the most unique and compelling drama on the network).
    Monday – there isn’t a comedy on that is consistently funny…Mike and Molly has the most promise due to Melissa McCarthy’s genius but the others have gaping holes. HIMYM is a NPH vehicle and his schtick is getting old. 2 Broke Girls is inane and Whitney’s 2nd best TV project (an opinion shared by no one, I admit). H5-0 looks good but lacks anything in the substance dept.
    Tuesday – simply NCIS x2 which skews way too old and hasn’t had a creative NEW idea since year 1 but they do have a promising-looking new drama with Vegas, IF you can place any stock in a 3 minute clip.
    Wednesday – is a carbon copy of Tuesday without anything that even looks promising (can Survivor get any less interesting?).
    Thursday – the only night I’m looking forward to on this network with the funniest 30 minutes of comedy on broadcast (then there’s 2 1/2 Jokes) and the best looking drama of the season in Elementary.
    Friday – I fell asleep simply reading the lineup.
    Saturday – they’re not even making an attempt.

    However, I’m not immune to the adage “if it aint broke, don’t fix it” and CBS seems to be content staying put while the rest of the networks make aggressive tweaks. They’re winning HH, the older demos, and are closing in on the younger. They have the Super Bowl which may very well narrow the gap further and could even inch them ahead. So go ahead Les and raise your flag of victory as high as you want for now. Come Emmy time, you’ll again be left behind (other than the brilliant Jim Parsons since The Good Wife has no chance this year), and if you look carefully enough behind you, you’ll see another network or two chomping at your heels.

    Congrats though on BBT, M&M, the Mentalist, and your new dramas. Those, combined with the success that you won’t let us forget about, will keep you in the above average percentile…I’m just not anticipating your schedule as much as I am the one from the network above you in the alphabet.

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/rebelman/ Rebelman

    I don’t know Marc, when was the last time a freshman sitcom got moved after a first season to a new time slot and did well? Even BBT took a hit on Thursday (until TBS got syndication rights where it has done exceedingly well). I predict it will go down some.

    Tuesday – Stable as always but with what you said about BBT being wasted, wouldn’t the same apply to NCIS (there highest rated show)? the spinoff has always aired there and its a huge waste. What will they do when NCIS decides to call it quits? That would be a huge blow to a dominant stable hour unless they think LA can do it.

    Wednesday – No problems why fix. Even though CSI is getting long in the tooth and older skewing year after year.

    Thursday – I agree with you about Big Bang Theory. I guess they want to be NBC some day airing the wrong thing about their successful sitcoms. Without Big Bang Theory, this night could collapse. Elementary is VERY interesting. look for the trailer on youtube, it has a HUGE argument going on. It has 2,759 likes and 3,955 dislikes. That’s a lot of hate and mixed results. Most are annoyed as the BBC has ‘Sherlock’ and it gets super rave reviews. Who knows if this will work or not. Younger viewers who like the BBC version may just tune out.

    Friday – I agree a violent show at 8PM is something the others don’t seem to be doing. Hard to predict this night honestly. Seems to be full of surprises these days.

    Sunday – Good Wife should be the show on Friday instead of here. It’s like the drama that just won’t leave. And the Mentalist i predict will take yet another hit at that time slot. They really fell out of love with this show didn’t they? That’s like their “death slot”

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/marcberman/ Marc Berman

    I agree that The Good Wife should not be airing in the Sunday 9 p.m. hour anymore. I would have flipped it with The Mentalist. While CBS does skew older with all its procedurals, it has the least holes to fill. And if NCIS suddenly goes away, it can always shift NCIS: Los Angeles to Tuesday at 8 p.m. As it stands, CBS has another lock in total viewers next season. While moving 2 Broke Girls to Monday at 9 p.m. is risky, if it works (and I think it will), Partners will click at 8:30 p.m. I would have, however, liked to see two new comedies on the fall schedule.

  • http://www.tvmediainsights.com/members/lesmoonbot/ LesMoonbot

    Mr. Berman, great seeing you recently! You look good. My wife concurs.

    Your yearly analysis of my network is like a fine wine — gets better with age.

    Thanks for the positive feedback. Great job, as always, my dear friend!

    P.S. RamBeau, you never know what’ll happen in this business called T.V. each and every year, but I do hope to raise that victory flag by this time next year. We look forward to your patronage.

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