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Upfronts 2014: CBS adds football and lots of drama to fall lineup

TelevisionTelevision IndustryLeslie MoonvesCSI (tv program)Robin WilliamsTwo and a Half Men (tv program)
CBS unveils fall schedule which includes 'NCIS' and 'CSI' spinoffs.
CBS says next season will be last for 'Two and a Half Men.'
CBS details fall schedule that includes Thursday football and lots of drama.

CBS is betting on football and five new dramas to lift its ratings this fall.

The network, which saw its audience decline by 8% this season, has overhauled much of its prime time lineup.

Only two shows introduced this season -- comedies "Mom" and "The Millers" -- will make it to a sophomore year. Programs that got the hook include the Robin Williams comedy "The Crazy Ones" and dramas "Hostages" and "Intelligence."

Also not on the network's new schedule is the long-running drama "The Mentalist" and the sitcom "Mike and Molly." However, both are expected to return later next season.

Despite the declining ratings and increased competition from an improved NBC, CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves was optimistic about his network and the television industry in general.

"This is really a great time to be in the television business," said Moonves. Noting that Amazon, Netflix and others are increasing their presence in original programming, Moonves said, it is good for everyone.

"Welcome to the game," he said.

CBS' big bet is Thursday night football. The network shelled out about $275 million for a one-year deal to broadcast eight games in September and October. The move should boost CBS' audience and give it a strong platform to promote other nights.

"Rolling thunder" is how CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl described the strategy of acquiring football.

Because of football, the hit sitcom "The Big Bang Theory" will start the season on Monday at 8 p.m. before moving back to its Thursday home at the end of October. 

CBS said it will debut five new dramas this fall including "Madame Secretary" starring Tea Leoni as U.S. secretary of State. That show has been scheduled for Sundays at 8 p.m. as a lead-in to the critical darling "The Good Wife."

Other new dramas include the breezy "Scorpion," about tech nerds who work at the Department of Homeland Security and "Stalker," about detectives who specialize in apprehending same. "It should scare the bejesus out of all of us," CBS Entertainment Chairman Nina Tassler said.

"Scorpion" is scheduled for Mondays at 9 p.m. and "Stalker" has been slotted for Wednesday at 10 p.m.

The network's other two new dramas are spinoffs of existing series. On Tuesday at 9 p.m., CBS will debut "NCIS New Orleans," the third incarnation of that military legal drama. "CSI" will also get another spinoff with "CSI Cyber," which  is scheduled for Sunday night.

The only new comedy CBS is trying for the fall is "The McCarthys," about a close-knit Irish Catholic family in Boston. Later in the season it will debut a remake of "The Odd Couple" starring Matthew Perry.

CBS also said next season would be the last for "Two and a Half Men."

Not on the fall schedule was a highly anticipated spinoff of the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother." CBS said it was not happy with the pilot and the studio -- 20th Century Fox Television -- was not interested in a do-over.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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TelevisionTelevision IndustryLeslie MoonvesCSI (tv program)Robin WilliamsTwo and a Half Men (tv program)
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