CBS Stays Safe, But Not Close to Home

Today it is CBS’s turn to step up to the plate and unveil their new fall schedule. Will it be heavy on the sci-fi, like NBC, will it repurpose car insurance commercials, like ABC, or will they finally bite the bullet and go all CSI all the time?

Actually, none of the above. This year CBS will go conservative, because their ratings are good enough that they can, and only introduce five new shows.

On the bench for the time being will be reality stalwart The Amazing Race and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Both are currently scheduled to return at some point during the season, but come September they’ll be shelved until they’re needed. Completely gone is the relatively successful Close to Home and back leading off the 8:00 on Monday time slot is How I Met Your Mother.

Without further ado, and with new shows in bold, here is CBS’s fall schedule:

Sunday

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
7:00 60 Minutes
7:30
8:00 Viva
Laughlin
How I Met
Your Mother
NCIS Kid
Nation
Survivor Ghost
Whisperer
Drama
Repeats
8:30 The Big
Bang Theory
9:00 Cold Case Two and a
Half Men
The Unit Criminal
Minds
CSI Moonlight
9:30 Rules of
Engagement
10:00 Shark CSI: Miami Cane CSI: NY Without
a Trace
Numb3rs 48 Hours:
Mystery
10:30

There it is, one new comedy, The Big Bang Theory; three new dramas, Cane, Moonlight, and Viva Laughlin; and one new reality show, Kid Nation. Easy as pie.

The Big Bang Theory comes from Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre and focuses on über-nerdy friends who, amazingly, have no problem conversing about the most in-depth scientific issues, but can’t talk to women. Well, fish out of water-style, a sexy new single neighbor moves in and the nerds are speechless. Hilarity will ensue.

The reality show, Kid Nation, gives 40 kids 40 days to build a new city in the ghost town of Bonanza City, New Mexico. The kids are between ages 8 and 15 and will be there, sans adults, trying to create a new Old West town. Unlike most reality shows, no one gets voted out of the town but anyone may leave voluntarily. I’m very curious as to how many times producers and/or cameramen had to step in and stop fights or fix problems (not that we’ll ever know or be told that such a thing occurred).

Drama-wise, Cane stars Jimmy Smits (woo-hoo) in a story about a large Cuban-American family running a rum and sugar business in South Florida (and George Lopez thought that Cavemen getting on the air would mean that all the Latino-based shows would disappear). When the family patriarch, played by Hector Elizondo, is offered an opportunity to get out of the sugar part of the business, his vocal family voice their opinions.

Moonlight is a private investigator tale… with a twist. Mick St. John, PI, just happens to also be a vampire. Sadly for him, he doesn’t get along with other vamps and spends a lot of his time protecting mere mortals from his undead brethren. Though he has resisted romance ever since he was bitten, nigh on 60 years ago, there’s this new girl in town and Mick is considering his options.

Lastly, there’s Viva Laughlin, based on the British show Viva Blackpool. Executive produced by Wolverine himself, this “mystery drama with music” focuses on Ripley Holden who wants to run a casino in Laughlin. Ripley has some financing problems and is forced to go to another casino owner (played in a recurring guest star role by Hugh Jackman) to help. Things continue to slide as Ripley’s ex-business partner is found dead. But, on the upside he’s married to Mädchen Amick and there’s music.

Also picked up by CBS as a mid-season replacement is Swingtown, a show based in 1970s suburbia with couples examining the institutions of marriage and gender roles. It stars Jack Davenport and open marriages.

So, the subject matter may not always be conservative, but the schedule is. It should also be noted that Without a Trace is moving back to its original Thursday nights at 10 time slot, flip-flopping with Shark. Does this fall under the theory that if he doesn’t keep swimming (around the schedule) he’ll die?

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