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2010 Television Upfront: CBS’s 2010-2011 Lineup Full of Changes

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How the mighty have fallen. Oh, not CBS, which announced its primetime schedule today, but rather NBC, something evident in CBS’s lineup. With its new schedule, the Eye network has opted to try to establish a comedy bulkhead on Thursday nights – NBC's domain for years (decades) on end. The new schedule CBS delivered features a whole bunch of timeslot changes and new programs. If one didn't know better they might think that CBS didn't perform well this past season.

Before we get into the details, it must be stated that Cold Case, Ghost Whisperer, Numbers, Gary Unmarried, and The New Adventures of Old Christine all found the chopping block this year. There were certainly some hints that such would happen with a few of these shows (Rob Morrow is in a pilot picked up by another network), but it is sure to upset some of the series' more devoted fans. Additionally, both CSI spinoffs found their ways to new nights as did Survivor. Aggressive may not accurately describe CBS’s new schedule which has only left Tuesday nights untouched.

Said schedule is as follows:


Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
7:00 60
Minutes
7:30
8:00 The Amazing Race How I Met
Your Mother
NCIS Survivor Big Bang Theory Medium Drama Repeats
8:30 Rules of
Engagement
$#*! My
Dad Says
9:00 Undercover
Boss
Two and a
Half Men
NCIS: Los Angeles Criminal Minds CSI CSI:
NY
9:30 Mike &
Molly
10:00 CSI:
Miami
Hawaii
Five-0
The Good
Wife
The
Defenders
The
Mentalist
Blue
Bloods
48 Hours
Mystery
10:30


Looking at the comedies first, CBS has added two to their fall lineup – Mike & Molly and $#*! My Dad Says (apparently that first word is "BLEEP"). Both air out of established comedies, although the latter is going to be on CBS' new Thursday hour comedy block.

Mike & Molly is brought to us by Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) and features a couple who find love at Overeaters Anonymous. Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy star as the titular couple, with Mike being a cop and Molly being a fourth grade teacher. Both have friends and family in their life, and Molly even has Swoosie Kurtz playing her mother. How the show will handle the sensitive issue of weight may play directly into the series' success or failure.

$#*! My Dad Says stars William Shatner as the father who says a bunch of crazy things, something Shatner has shown to excel at in his most recent television role on Boston Legal. As a sign of the times, the sitcom is based on the Twitter feed of Justin Halpern (yes, a Twitter feed). The father, Ed, has two sons, one of whom, though an adult, is forced to move back in with him. The series comes from David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, the creators of Will & Grace.

Moving over to dramas, Hawaii Five-O is, of course, a reimagining of the television series Hawaii Five-O. The series stars Alex O'Loughlin in the network’s third attempt to find a show for the actor whom they so clearly want to be a star (the previous attempts were Moonlight and Three Rivers). Perhaps combining O'Loughlin's fan base with the well-known series name and throwing in other famous actors – Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, and Grace Park – will mean that CBS finally has a winner for the actor. And, yes, O'Loughlin is playing the Jack Lord role of Steve McGarrett.

Jerry O'Connell, who somehow did not end up in a pilot last year (he did appear on Eastwick though a couple of times) is back this fall in the new series The Defenders. O'Connell stars opposite Jim Belushi (because According to Jim is finally really and truly and forever gone). The two men play the named lawyers in a Las Vegas firm which also features a new associate played by Jurnee Smollett who is "looking to put her exotic dancing ways behind her." Rounding out the cast are an assistant played by Tanya Fischer and the estranged wife of Belushi's character, played by Gillian Vigman.

The last new series making the fall (the Forest Whitaker starring Criminal Minds spinoff will be a mid-season replacement) CBS schedule is Blue Bloods. Rather than focusing on the long wealthy, the series is about a family of cops working in New York City. Said family is led by the New York Chief of Police (Tom Selleck), Frank Reagan, or, perhaps by the ex-Chief of Police, Frank's father, Henry (Len Cariou). Donnie Wahlberg, Bridget Moynahan, and Will Estes all play members of the Reagan family as well, and are all somehow related to law enforcement (even if it's as an A.D.A. or taking part in a clandestine police investigation).

It is clear that while CBS may not be introducing the most new shows in the fall, they are not content to simply slot a few new shows in here and there. They have substantially rejiggered their schedule. If the aging (though perhaps timeless) Survivor works on Wednesdays, the CSI spinoffs hold their audiences on their new nights, and the new 8-9 comedy hour on Thursdays works, the network could find itself in an even better position next year.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.