My Analysis: 2014/2015 Fall/Midseason TV Network Schedule

CBS:

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In years past, predictability was CBS’s strength. With shows like the CSI and NCIS franchises, Northern Exposure, Numb3rs, Without a Trace and Ghost Whisperer anchoring the CBS schedule at various time periods throughout the years, each schedule every year has been as familiar as anything that relied on being predictable. If you could probably have a best guess of what would be on the following year’s schedule, CBS would be the television station where the shows and the correct time slot predictions would be the highest percentage. Familiar time slots, shows that everyone knew would be on a certain day, and other shows you’d know in a heartbeat would be paired with this show and up against that show, it is in this upcoming 2014 TV schedule where CBS decided to break the mould. Breaking up their Monday comedy block was one of the decisions they made to make avid TV watchers know (inclusive of myself) that it was time for the channel to make some big changes. Perusing this schedule has indeed shown myself that CBS is probably the boldest of all the networks, and while there are various decisions that I reckon will backfire come September, I overall commend the network in its decisions as a whole.

The Good: While the network made the most alterations with the schedule overall, it still had the most TV programs that held onto the timeslot they had previously (in 2013/14). Shows like NCIS, Person of Interest, Elementary, Survivor, Criminal Minds, Hawaii 5-0, Blue Bloods, The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men all hold onto their previous timeslots, and are all great decisions by the network for them to be placed right where they were for this 2014 TV season. While I may only watch a few shows on the network (The Mentalist, Person of Interest, Elementary), I do respect and commend the network in how they stick with their shows overall. While on hindsight, if I was a CBS executive, I may have moved NCIS L.A. back to Tuesdays (to have an NCIS night), move Person of Interest back to its original spot on Thursdays and move the two comedies placed from 9-10pm (that make Thursday now a comedy block instead of Mondays) back to Mondays to create a comedy block; the decision to place the shows where they are currently shows a sense of faith and belief in the timeslots of each of these programs. With CBS being the overall network to have the most #1 programs each week, they ought to be doing something right. And if you’re on a good thing, then why change the time slot on any of the shows that are doing so well?

The Indifferent: The Good Wife has been one of the critically acclaimed dramas that has been catching the eye of many fans around the world that has unfortunately not been able to catch my eye as of yet. Not that I have seen any episodes of the drama, it’s just that there have been many shows ahead in terms of priority for myself. Rarely have I not cared about a drama as much as The Good Wife, and while I could sound a little ignorant, I’m not really that fussed about where the show is on the schedule, or if the show is on the schedule at all. Nevertheless, the show is quite popular with award show critics, and thus, the scheduling of The Good Wife on Sundays at 9pm suggests some faith in the show, despite poor ratings (even poorer than The Mentalist, which is being held to midseason). The McCarthy’s, the sole new comedy of CBS in the fall, earns its spot at 9:30pm in place of the failed The Crazy Ones that was cancelled after only one season. Considering that I myself am not really fond of comedies with laughing tracks, the position of The McCarthys doesn’t really sway me to be excited nor disinterested. But for the sake of having a show after Two and a Half Men that doesn’t fail ratings-wise, then it will be good for The McCarthy’s sake that it does well.

The Bad: Once Upon a Time has become a powerhouse show on Sunday nights. Already into its 4th season in 2014, it has developed from a fun-filled fantasy-family show to a hard-hitting poignant drama about hope, love, and second chances. So for any new drama show to be competing against Once is as difficult as anything- which is exactly what Madam Secretary is doing. Taking over the 8pm Sunday spot from The Amazing Race (which is now on Fridays 8pm in place of Undercover Boss), Madam Secretary reminds myself of something like Political Animals or Veep- with that political angle written all over it. With Tea Leoni as the lead actress on the show, I’m not sure how it will compete against possibly one of the most popular dramas on TV currently. While I’m sure Madam Secretary will have decent ratings, I think a force like Once Upon a Time will be too great for the show. 2 Broke Girls, moving into The Big Bang Theory’s spot at 8pm when Thursday Night Football finishes at the end of October (and TBBT moves back to Thursdays), starts off Monday nights, moving to Mom and Scorpion to fill out the 8-10 two hour block. While both comedies have been critically acclaimed, I’m not sure if they have the ratings power, or the star power for that matter, to start off a night, let alone a Monday against The Voice. I can’t really remember when a new drama debuted at 9pm on Mondays, and while I thought the trailer for Scorpion was nicely done (piquing my interest in the show), I hardly see the CBS lineup on Mondays (with the exception of NCIS: LA) competing with its competition (Sleepy Hollow, Dancing With the Stars, The Voice, The Originals and Gotham). A sad occasion (since I enjoyed both trailers of Madam Secretary and Scorpion), I still reckon that these shows were poorly scheduled and maybe would’ve done better at Thursday 10pm and Tuesday 10pm respectively.

The Smart: Dramas at 10pm on Mondays hardly ever thrive (with the exception of new drama Hawaii 5-0 before it was moved to Fridays), with recent offerings in Hostages and Intelligence failing to make a mark in the ratings department. With the new decision to move one of its established dramas, NCIS: L.A. to the Monday 10pm slot is a smart move. While many viewers of TV would’ve wanted a total NCIS night on Tuesdays, it nevertheless is good to have at least an established show to at least provide some meaningful competition to both Castle and The Blacklist (and later State of Affairs). Similarly with moving CSI to Sundays (as The Mentalist moves to midseason) and placing Stalker in CSI’s spot on Wednesdays, the strength of these shows in the new lineups have given the timeslot a freshness in competition, with CSI now competing against shows like Sunday Night Football and Revenge, and Stalker against Chicago PD and Nashville. Time will tell to whether these shifts in TV programs for CBS has been the right move or not, nevertheless, at this point in time, things are bright for a network that has made the most shakeups with regards to the new 2014 TV schedule.

The Puzzling: Battle Creek, starring Hollywood star Josh Duhamel, was ordered straight to series in May 2013. Developed by Vince Gilligan (creator of The X Files and Breaking Bad), it was assumed by many (even myself) that Battle Creek, a story about two detectives who have to work together but have clashing personalities, would be placed within the fall TV schedule, maybe on a Friday night considering that the show was a 13 episode limited series event (and besides, a show with a Hollywood A-lister would garner viewers no matter the night right?). Sadly, the show didn’t receive a spot on the fall schedule (as well season 7 of The Mentalist). With both these shows slated for the midseason, it may actually bode well for Battle Creek, considering that shows that premiere in the midseason have a great chance at renewal compared to shows in the fall. The Mentalist season 7 is most likely finishing after season 7, so I guess it doesn’t really matter when the show comes back (either this year or next year). While it may be a long uneasy wait for The Mentalist fans, at least the show is still coming back (with The Mentalist, next to Parenthood, being one of the handful of programs that were on the fence for renewal).

The Midseason Shows: The two remaining midseason shows, The Odd Couple starring Thomas Lennon and Matthew Perry (a remake), and seasoned favourite Mike and Molly, were oddly missing from the fall schedule- but maybe these shows are being held back in case The McCarthy’s fail. Whatever the reason for both shows being held for midseason, CBS has managed to deliver a schedule that’s both familiar and different at the same time.

Check out the schedule below, and be sure to sound out in the comments what your favourite new CBS show is, based on the trailers.

Sundays:

7: 60 Minutes

8: Madam Secetary

9: The Good Wife

10: CSI (Fall)

10: CSI Cyber (Midseason)

Mondays (during football):

8: The Big Bang Theory

8:30: Mom

9: Scorpion

10: NCIS: LA

Mondays (after football):

8: 2 Broke Girls

8:30: Mom

9: Scorpion

10: NCIS: LA

Tuesdays:

8: NCIS

9: NCIS: NO

10: Person Of Interest

Wednesdays:

8: Survivor

9: Criminal Minds

10: Stalker

Thursdays (after football):

8: Big Bang Theory

8:30: The Millers

9: Two And A Half Men

9:30: The McCarthys

10: Elementary

Fridays:

8: The Amazing Race (Fall)

8: Undercover Boss (Midseason)

9: Hawaii 5-0

10: Blue Bloods

Midseason/Unscheduled:

Mike And Molly

The Odd Couple

The Mentalist

Battle Creek

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