CBS Drops Saturday Dramas

The biggest change to CBS’s fall schedule comes on Saturday night, where the network has decided to stop trying to program original dramas and instead rely on news, reality and repurposing.

The network picked up two comedies and three dramas for fall, with CSI: New York already ordered prior to the network’s upfront presentation. With broadcast’s most stable schedule going into the fall, CBS’s goal is to keep its dominance in total viewers while making headway among younger demos.

With the renewal of Everybody Loves Raymond for its final season, announced earlier this week, CBS’s Monday night remains nearly intact.

Yes, Dear was nearly canceled, but show producer “Fox made us an offer we couldn’t refuse,” said Leslie Moonves, CBS’s chairman and CEO, and the show should be back in midseason. Still Standing moves to 8, followed by Listen Up, based on the life of Washington Post sports columnist Tony Kornheiser and starring Jason Alexander. Moonves called the show “a fast ball down the middle. It should be a very commercial vehicle for Jason.”

The rest of Monday stays the same, with Raymond and CSI: Miami finishing up the night.
On Tuesday, The Guardian, an older-skewing drama, goes away, to be replaced by Clubhouse, about a 16-year-old bat boy for fictional baseball team, the New York Empires. Clubhouse is executive produced by Mel Gibson, whose production company is expected to land three shows on broadcast network schedules. Besides Clubhouse, ABC picked up Savages and UPN is expected to pick up Kevin Hill, starring Taye Diggs.

NCIS remains on Tuesday at 8, and Judging Amy will stay at 10.

On Wednesday, 60 Minutes 2 becomes 60 Minutes, with that franchise running twice a week. King of Queens will stay at 9, followed by Center of the Universe, starring John Goodman. That show was CBS’s “highest-testing pilot in years and years and years,” Moonves said. “The combination of Kevin James and John Goodman will make for a very hefty hour.”

CSI: New York, which also tested well, will take on Law & Order at 10, an hour that Moonves called the toughest in television.

Thursday remain exactly the same with Survivor: Vanuatu, CSI and Without a Trace. As for Joey, NBC’s new 8 o’clock show, Moonves said: “It’s OK. It’s not Friends. It’s not going to change the world like Friends did.”

On Friday, the new entry is dr. vegas, starring Rob Lowe and Joe Pantoliano, back in last year’s time period for The Handler. Joan of Arcadia kicks off the night, leading into JAG.

CBS’s all-new Saturday will start with a renamed 48 Hours Mystery, focusing only on real-life murder mysteries. The Amazing Race will get a slot on the fall schedule, a show Moonves said was “by far CBS’s youngest-skewing.” At 10, CBS will repurpose its crime-franchise shows in an hour the network is calling Crimetime Saturday.

Sunday remains the same, with 60 Minutes, Cold Case and the CBS Sunday Movie. Moonves said theatrical movies on broadcast networks is a dead genre. “With movies on cable so often and with DVD sales what they are, people have seen movies they like 30 times before it gets to broadcast,” Moonves said. 

Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.