CBS Slates 4 Midseason Shows

CBS will debut four midseason shows in the first three months of 2006.

The network Tuesday announced January premiere dates for two midseason series, Love Monkey and The Jenna Elfman Show, slated two additional new series for March debuts—a David Mamet action drama and a long-awaited Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy—and, as expected (B&C, Nov. 21), has provided a full-season order to Jerry Bruckheimer’s freshman drama, Close to Home.

Love Monkey, which stars Tom Cavanagh (Ed) as a 30-something single record executive in New York City, will debut at 9-10 p.m. Jan. 17. Jason Priestly (Beverly Hills, 90210) co-stars.

The Sony Pictures Television series (in association with Paramount Network Television—now the in-house production company of CBS), will bridge The Amazing Race: Family Edition and the reality series' ninth installment.

The Jenna Elfman Show (working title), features the former Dharma & Greg lead in a Touchstone TV (in association with Paramount) comedy about a single semi-workaholic seeking true love and a successful law career. It premieres Jan. 23.

The sitcom will air in Out of Practice’s 9:30 p.m. Monday time slot behind Two and a Half Men. Out of Practice, which has already been picked up for the full season, returns in March.

Also scheduled for March are premieres of drama, The Unit, and comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine. Along with a date for the return of Out of Practice, those two premiere dates will be announced later.

The Unit, from 20th Century Fox Television, is an action drama that follows a covert team of special forces operatives on undercover missions around the world. Mamet and Shawn Ryan are executive producers.

Christine marks the second television comedy comeback attempt for Louis-Dreyfus since Seinfeld. She stars in the Warner Bros. Television sitcom about a divorced working mom juggling motherhood and businesshood while maintaining a “fantastic” relationship with her ex-husband, at least until his young, new girlfriend enters the picture. Kari Lizer is executive producer/writer and Andy Ackerman is executive producer/director.

The full-season pickup for Close comes as the series has gained steam since moving from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 9 p.m. Friday.

In its two Friday broadcasts, the Warner Bros. Television program has averaged 11.76 million viewers (up 19% from its Tuesday average of 9.85 million), a 3.2 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 (up 3% from 3.1/8) and 4.4/12 in adults 25-54 (up 13% from 3.9/9). It has held all of its Ghost Whisperer lead-in in viewers, 97% of taht lead-in the 18-49 demo and 96% of 25-54's,

CBS has now given full-season orders to five of its six freshmen programs (Threshold, which makes its first appearance Tuesday night in the 10 p.m. slot after flipping slots with Close, is the lone exception).

The other renewed series are Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, How I Met Your Mother and Out of Practice.