Upfronts 2013: CBS Sets Two-Hour Thursday Comedy Block

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New York -- A year after it toyed with the idea, CBS on Wednesday announced plans to expand its Thursday comedy block to two hours next season with The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men sandwiching two newsitcoms – The Millers starring Will Arnett and The Crazy Ones headlined by Robin Williams.

Comedy was a priority for the network this developmentseason, and it will will launch four new comedies total in the fall – three more than this season -- adding the single-camera ensemble We Are Men and Chuck Lorre’s Mom to its Monday lineup leading out of How I Met Your Mother and 2 Broke Girls, respectively.

Besides getting more comedy on the schedule in general to find successors for the departing How I Met Your Mother and aging Two and a Half Men, picking up half-hours from its own studio was “very important,” said CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler at a press conference Wednesday morning.

Of its four fall comedies, two – We Are Men and The Millers – are from CBS Television Studios. Currently the network’s most successful comedies – Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and 2 Broke Girls are from Warner Bros. Television, meaning CBS doesn’t profit from their lucrative syndication deals.

With the focus on comedy, CBS will only launch one new drama in fall, the Toni Colette starrer Hostages, which will air Mondays at 10 p.m. and run for 15 episodes. The 13-episode action drama Intelligence starring Josh Holloway will replace it in January. Hawaii Five-0, which had been airing on Monday in that time slot, moves to Fridays at 9 p.m. between Undercover Boss and Blue Bloods.

While Tassler stressed that, “we are in a 22-episode business,” the network decided to agree to Hostages’ producers’ wish for 15 episodes because of its highly serialized storytelling and the opportunity to get more originals on Monday night. “It is better for the show if we do 15,” she said.

With Thursday growing to four comedies, Person of Interest moves to Tuesday at 10 p.m. following NCIS and NCIS: LA, putting the network’s three most-watched dramas on the same night. Sophomore drama Elementary stays in place on Thursday at 10 p.m.

Wednesdays remain completely intact with Survivor, Criminals Minds and CSI, as do Sundays with 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Good Wife and The Mentalist. “This is a night we didn’t want to change,” said Kelly Kahl, executive VP of CBS primetime, of Sunday, citing the lineup’s frequent disruption in fall due to football. “We’re in a good place with getting people to understand we have overruns.”

Three series remain on tap for midseason – returning comedy Mike & Molly, which has a full 22-episode order, new romantic comedy Friends With Better Lives and new southern legal drama Reckless.

CBS' 2013-14 fall primetime schedule is as follows, new
shows in UPPERCASE:


8 p.m. How I Met Your

8:30 p.m. WE ARE MEN
9 p.m. 2 Broke Girls
9:30 p.m. MOM


8 p.m. NCIS
9 p.m. NCIS: LA
10 p.m. Person of Interest


8 p.m. Survivor
9 p.m. Criminal Minds
10 p.m. Person of Interest


8 p.m. The Big Bang

8:30 p.m. THE MILLERS
9:30 p.m. Two and a Half Men
10 p.m. Elementary


8 p.m. Undercover Boss
9 p.m. Hawaii Five-0
10 p.m. Blue Bloods


8 p.m. Comedytime Saturday
9 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
10 p.m. 48 Hours


7 p.m. 60

8 p.m. The Amazing Race
9 p.m. The Good Wife
10 p.m. The Mentalist