Toni Collette and Tate Donovan star in Hostages a new drama that will air on Monday nights.
We all know CBS is comfortably in first place among the broadcast networks, finishing this season (unofficially, but you can chalk it up) first in both total viewers and ratings. So what does a televsion behemoth and bully do as an encore? Strengthen AND grow. The Eye boosted its already solid-performing comedy efforts by extending its Thursday comedy block to two hours, shuffled around some dramas for some formidable nights, and still managed to squeeze in five new series for the fall. It's good to be the king.
Let's take a look at CBS's 2013-2014 schedule day-by-day (an easy-to-read schedule is available at the bottom of the story):
Monday's comedy block of yesteryear gets a facelift to allow for the development of new sitcoms, as Monday now hosts CBS's B-team laugh block. The final season of How I Met Your Mother, which will focus solely on the infamous mother-meeting wedding weekend (yes, the ENTIRE season), starts the block off again at 8pm. It's followed at 8:30pm by new comedy We Are Men (pictured above); the show is about four dudes (three of whom are Tony Shalhoub, Kal Penn, and Jerry O'Connell) who become friends in a short-term living complex. 2 Broke Girls remains the anchor at 9pm, leading into Anna Faris as a recently sober single mom drying up in Napa Valley in the new Chuck Lorre comedy Mom at 9:30pm. We Are Men (pictured) is one of two single-camera comedies for CBS in the fall, and apparently CBS doesn't care about matching up formats, because it's stuck in a sea of multi-camera sitcoms. Mike & Molly takes a break until it's needed. By giving more time to new comedies, CBS is hoping it can find solid replacements for the departing How I Met Your Mother and departed Rules of Engagement. At 10pm, things get dramatic with the new series Hostages (pictured at the top of the page), starring Toni Collette as a doctor who must operate on the president—and kill him, I believe—if she ever wants to see her family alive again. I still have no idea how it will work as a continuing series but only 15 episodes have been ordered, so I guess the producers wondered the same thing. In the midseason, Josh Holloway as a cyber-enhanced cop takes over in Intelligence.
Leave Tuesday to the guys who want to save the world. It's back-to-back NCISes with NCIS at 8pm and NCIS: LA at 9pm. CBS passed on the potential NCIS spinoff NCIS: Red, and let's admit that was a good decision. Reese and Finch move up two days in the schedule as Person of Interest takes the 10pm slot. This is about as solid as it gets, performance-wise, for an evening of drama. All three series were regularly the Top 3 most-watched dramas of the week, so good luck everyone else! You'll need it!
Nothing changes on Wednesdays. It's Survivor, Criminal Minds, and CSI. This will probably be the next night CBS eyes for an overhaul as things are starting to feel a bit stale, but not until next season at the earliest.
CBS's experiment to move The Big Bang Theory over to Thursday nights has paid off to the tune of a gazillion dollars, so now the network is ready to enter phase two of its Thursday-night dominance. And apparently that means absolutely crushing NBC's tradition of a Thursday-night comedy block. The laughs expand to two hours, starting with Sheldon and company at 8pm and continuing with three new comedies. At 8:30pm it's Will Arnett as the newly divorced dad who deals with his parents' own breakup in the multi-camera The Millers. 9pm features some starpower with Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar playing father and daughter at an advertising company in the single-camera comedy The Crazy Ones (pictured). That's followed by the multi-camera stalwart Two and a Half Men, with Angus T. Jones not returning as a regular. Again, CBS is going against traditional wisdom and mixing comedy formats. Will anyone notice? Will a "laugh now" caption have to appear on the screen during The Crazy Ones? Elementary, which had a great first season, stays put at 10pm. Mike & Molly could also fill in here if one of the comedies fails. By CBS standards, I mean.
With the network's abundance of riches, Friday's become even more formidable for CBS. Undercover Boss starts at 8pm, and new Friday resident Hawaii Five-0 moves in at 9pm, taking over for the recently deceased CSI: NY. Blue Bloods sits tight at 10pm. CBS is this close to programming Saturdays, I can feel it.
Another stay-put night. 60 Minutes at 7pm, The Amazing Race at 8pm, The Good Wife at 9pm, and The Mentalist at 10pm. Steady, steady, steady.
As I mentioned above above, Mike & Molly and its 22-episode order are being held as a lifeline or a midseason replacement. Also being held for midseason are the new multi-camera comedy Friends With Better Lives, starring Kevin Connolly, James Van Der Beek, and Brooklyn Decker as part of a group of friends that each think the other has it better, and the new drama Reckless, about a sexy big-city female lawyer and a sexy country male lawyer who try a police scandal against each other and also try to get in each other's pants. It's Castle meets Hart of Dixie!
CBS's 2013-2014 schedule in an easier-to-read format (new shows in bold and ALL CAPS):
8pm How I Met Your Mother
8:30pm WE ARE MEN
9pm 2 Broke Girls
10pm HOSTAGES (fall) / INTELLIGENCE (midseason)
9pm NCIS: Los Angeles
10pm Person of Interest
9pm Criminal Minds
10pm CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
8pm The Big Bang Theory
8:30pm THE MILLERS
9pm THE CRAZY ONES
9:30pm Two and a Half Men
8pm Undercover Boss
9pm Hawaii Five-0
10pm Blue Bloods
8pm Comedytime Saturday (encores)
9pm Crimetime Saturday
10pm 48 Hours
7pm 60 Minutes
8pm The Amazing Race
9pm The Good Wife
10pm The Mentalist
Upfronts 2013 HQ:
New Shows, Network Schedules, Video Previews, and More