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CBS Launches New Night of Comedy, Cancels "Moonlight" and "Shark"

Following days of speculation (and a whole slew of series orders and renewals), CBS has finally announced its schedule, which it will unveil to advertisers later today.

One notable omission is freshman drama Moonlight, which CBS determined yesterday afternoon would not be returning for a second season; it joins fellow canceled series Shark in the bin, though it's been suggested that Media Rights Capital could resurrect the vampire drama for its Sunday night programming block on the CW.

As expected, the Eye has launched a second night of comedy programming on Wednesdays, anchored by eleventh hour (heh) returnee Old Christine, which was picked up yesterday with a full 22-episode order for the 2008-09 season; it will kick off the night with new comedy Project Gary (formerly known as untitled Ed Yeager comedy starring Jay Mohr).

Let's take a look at how the schedule breaks down night by night.

CBS PRIMETIME SCHEDULE FOR 08-09:

MONDAY
8 pm: Big Bang Theory
8:30 pm: How I Met Your Mother
9 pm: Two and a Half Men
9:30 pm: Worst Week
10 pm: CSI: Miami

TUESDAY
8 pm: NCIS
9 pm: The Mentalist
10 pm: Without a Trace

WEDNESDAY
8 pm: Old Christine
8:30 pm: Project Gary
9 pm: Criminal Minds
10 pm: CSI: NY

THURSDAY
8 pm: Survivor
9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
10 pm: Eleventh Hour

FRIDAY
8 pm: Ghost Whisperer
9 pm: The Ex-List
10 pm: NUMB3RS

SATURDAY
8-10 pm: Drama Repeats
10 pm: 48 Hours Mystery

SUNDAY
7 pm: 60 Minutes
8 pm: The Amazing Race
9 pm: Cold Case
10 pm: The Unit

TBA
Rules of Engagement
Harper's Island

New Series:
Eleventh Hour, The Mentalist, The Ex-List, Worst Week, Project Gary, Harper's Island
(midseason)

Renewed Series:
The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men, CSI: Miami, NCIS, Without a Trace, Old Christine, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, Survivor, CSI, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, 48 Hours Mystery, 60 Minutes, Amazing Race, Cold Case, The Unit

Canceled Series:
Cane, Jericho, Moonlight, Shark, Viva Laughlin, Welcome to the Captain, Kid Nation

Reactions:
I think CBS has done a pretty good job this time around at launching a schedule that's ambitious but builds on the successes of the past. No suburban swingers, vampires, Latino rum barons, or musical murder mysteries here this time around; hell, they even are playing it safe and launching heavily serialized murder mystery/horror series Harper's Island in midseason rather than bow it now. (Personally, I thought the script for Harper's Island was one of the weakest of this past development season and cannot believe that it was ordered to series.)

CBS is smart to launch a second night of comedy on Wednesdays, a night which is lacking in any laughs on any other network. Will the combo of Old Christine and male-driven Project Gary be the ones to crack this? I'm not sure. I probably would have skedded Project Gary after Two and a Half Men and swapped its slot with Worst Week. But that's just me.

As for the other additions, it had been bandied about that The Ex-List would launch on Sundays at 9 pm, which would have been disastrous. (Hello, ladies of Wisteria Lane!) I'm glad to see that they used my line of thinking and shifted Ghost Whisperer to 8 pm and then slotted in Ex-List behind it at 9 pm, creating a female-oriented two-hour block on Fridays and allowing the series the opportunity to grow with some, let's say, diminished expectations, given that it's a weak night.

Speaking of Sundays, I was surprised that they did decide to move Cold Case back to 9 pm and not in the 10 pm slot (which it will occupy this summer) that many thought it would have. I do think The Unit is very good counter-programming against ABC's Brothers & Sisters. I'd be curious to see how the series goes in this new timeslot, especially given the strength of Shaun Ryan's pitch for Season Five.

All in all, a structurally sound schedule that gives CBS some breathing room this fall and the opportunity to take some calculated risks (rather than the foolhardy and unnecessary ones it made last fall). Not a fan of The Mentalist (which was like nails on the chalkboard to me) but very much looking forward to the US adaptation of UK mini Eleventh Hour. This is the one series to keep an eye on as it might just end up being the Eye's next breakout hit.

Comments

Brad said…
I'm probably the only person bummed to see Kid Nation not coming back. I really thought it worked as both a "survivor for kids" and light social engineering drama.
Oh well...
Anonymous said…
Wow. I just realized I really don't watch anything on CBS, save for Amazing Race and Old Christine. And I am very happy that they are renewing Old Christine, which is one of the most overlooked comedies on television.
eAi said…
I'm amazed Cold Case is still around. It's formula is so annoying and in-your-face. At least the other procedural dramas tend to just get on with it rather than getting so wrapped up in themselves.
Page48 said…
I'm in Danielle's camp here. The only CBS show I watch, and then only occasionally, is "The Unit", which, if there is any justice at all, should smoke "Brothers & Sisters", which is a complete waste of Arvin Sloane.
Dani In NC said…
There are several shows that I watch on CBS but only because there is nothing on the other networks that appeal to me in the time slot. The only three I would definitely stick with are Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and Ghost Whisperer.

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