2013 TV upfronts: CBS unveils schedule with six new shows

Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar star in the new CBS comedy "The Crazy Ones."

NEW YORK -- Wrapping up a season in which it will finish first in both viewers and the crucial adults 18-49 demographic that advertisers favor, CBS unveiled a fall television schedule with four new comedies and two dramas.

For CBS, the win in adults 18-49 was its first since the 1991-92 television season. Although the network’s ratings got a boost from having the Super Bowl, it still would have finished first without the big game.

The first-place finish in viewers and demographics will give CBS more ammunition when it starts negotiating with advertisers for the upcoming season.

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“The network is alive and healthy,” said Chief Executive Leslie Moonves, who added that CBS has never been more profitable and that the company’s stock recently hit an all-time high.

Though CBS announced the fewest new shows of any major broadcast network, it still managed to shake up its lineup by moving established programs around and benching one of its successful sitcoms until midseason.

“The bar was pretty high,” Moonves said of the network’s scheduling process. “I think our development was as good as I’ve ever seen it.”

Indeed, CBS canceled two dramas -- “CSI: NY” and “Vegas” -- that averaged more than 10 million viewers each, which is usually considered successful in today’s fragmented television universe. Another high-profile drama, “Hawaii Five-0,” is being moved from Monday night to Friday night, which is a demotion because that night generally has fewer younger viewers tuning in.

Another surprise move by CBS is the decision to keep “Mike and Molly,” the sitcom starring Billy Cardell and Melissa McCarthy, off the fall schedule, although it has ordered 22 episodes in anticipation of a new sitcom faltering.

CBS is also moving its Thursday drama hit “Person of Interest” from Thursday at 9 p.m. to Tuesday at 10 p.m., where it will follow “NCIS” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” That will give CBS a powerhouse lineup of the three most-watched shows on television in a row, which is the first time that’s happened since the early 1980s when CBS aired “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Dallas” and “Falcon Crest” back-to-back-to-back.

The move of “Person of Interest” on Thursday will open a space for two new sitcoms to join “The Big Bang Theory” and the veteran “Two and a Half Men.”

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Among the new shows are sitcoms starring Robin Williams, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Kal Penn and Will Arnett of “Arrested Development,” and dramas featuring Dylan McDermott and former “CSI” star Marg Helgenberger.

One of CBS’ more interesting moves is the scheduling of two series for its Monday 10 p.m. time slot. When the season starts, “Hostages,” a drama from producer Jerry Bruckheimer starring McDermott and Toni Collette, will run for 15 episodes. After “Hostages” is done with its run, “Intelligence,” about a government agent with a Google-like brain, will run for 13 episodes.

That move is another sign that the networks want fewer reruns on their schedules. In the past, when there was very little competition, reruns delivered decent numbers. Now reruns send viewers scrambling for the remote.

Another motivation is that online providers, including Netflix and Amazon, have a big appetite for dramas, which is encouraging the networks to invest more in the genre.


“The goal this year was to have more originals and fewer repeats,” said Nina Tassler, CBS’ president of entertainment.

The new comedies from CBS on Monday are “We Are Men,” about four guys who live in the same apartment complex, and “Mom” starring Anna Faris and Allison Janney, about a mother and daughter.

The Thursday sitcoms are “The Millers,” starring Arnett and Beau Bridges about a father and son who divorce at the same time, and “The Crazy Ones,” starring Williams as an advertising executive and Gellar as his daughter.

In addition to “CSI: NY” and “Vegas, “canceled CBS shows include “Golden Boy,” “Partners” and “Rules of Engagement.”



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