CBS Swaps 'Swingtown,' 'Flashpoint'

In what could be read as a positive sign for "Flashpoint" and an ill-omen for "Swingtown," CBS has swapped the time slots for the summer dramas.

CBS announced on Tuesday (July 22) that, effective immediately, "Flashpoint" will take the Thursday 10 p.m. ET hour after "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," while "Swingtown" will shuffle off to Friday nights at 10 p.m.

The new schedule will remain in place for the rest of the series' runs.

The two dramas have had very different fortunes in their brief lives.

"Swingtown" was presented amidst much pomp and excitement at CBS' upfront presentation in May 2007 as a midseason show, but the 1970s saga was pushed back to the summer after the writers strike halted production. After an extremely successful launch, "Swingtown" has suffered from declining viewership, averaging 6.52 million viewers and a 2.2 adults 18-49 rating despite its solid procedural lead-in.

Addressing the Television Critics Association press tour last week, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler was measured when discussing "Swingtown."

"I'm very proud of the show," Tassler said. "I love the show. Everybody knows how passionate I've been about it. I wish the ratings were better, but this is the -- as [ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson] said the other day, it's the life we've chosen for ourselves. But right now, we're behind the show and we are proud of it."

Asked to clarify the show's future, Tassler added, "You know what, look, I'm a little disappointed in the ratings. We haven't made thatdecision right now, but I am proud of the show. Creatively, I think they're doing a great job."

"Flashpoint," on the other hand, was developed for Canadian TV and was ordered toward the end of the strike as a hedge against a possible ongoing scripted programming shortage.

The story of a group of specially trained cops working out of a city that looks very might like Toronto has averaged 7.62 million viewers in its first two airings, offering double-digit improvements over its lead-in in most key measures.

Asked to address the network's new beyond-borders strategy, Tassler seemed enthusiastic.

"You know what, it started as a strike aberration, and it's turned into something terrific," she said. "We have a great relationship with CTV and the producers. We're very pleased with the numbers and are encouraged, and it's certainly sort of continuing a trend to look at the world in a very different context. There are great formats coming out of different countries as technology improves as far as what foreign content looks like. We're having a very different dialogue now. It's a global playground. We get -- you know, even writers and directors are bringing product to us from overseas. So I think it's a really very exciting time as far as exploring all these other opportunities. So it's a good thing."

"Flashpoint" will have its Thursday premiere on Thursday, July 24 and "Swingtown" will have its first Friday airing on July 25.

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