Upfronts: CBS Shocks and Makes Big Moves

Going into the Upfronts, CBS was the least exciting schedule to find out.

Until the bloodbath occurred that saw CBS say goodbye to seven of its series, a few of them big surprises. And they didn’t stop there. The network made some big moves and relocated some of its biggest series to both boost its new offerings as well as plug long-held trouble spots on its schedule.

The CBS Thursday staple Survivor finally makes the permanent move to Wednesdays at 8pm. It’s been long discussed and it’s finally happened. First, to put a solid series with a loyal fanbase that’ll follow it to an hour CBS and other networks have had trouble programming. And it opens up Thursdays at 8pm for CBS’ hottest comedy The Big Bang Theory and its buzzed about Bleep My Dad Says, pitting them against NBC’s very modest-rating comedies.

Though many expected The Good Wife to get bumped to Friday after taking a dive on Tuesdays and losing to Parenthood since the NBC series premiered, CBS Tuesdays stay in tact, while CSI: NY, a solid performer on Wednesdays at 10pm, moves to CSI Original Flavor’s first home, Fridays at 9pm, helping to boost Tom Selleck’s Blue Bloods. Medium, the only survivor of CBS Fridays, leads off the night at 8pm.

That opens the Wednesday 10pm slot and prime post-Criminal Minds slot to the Jim Belushi-Jerry O’Connell series The Defenders.

Meanwhile, the winning reality combo of The Amazing Race and mega-hit Undercover Boss returns on Sundays with CSI: Miami hoping to plug the Sunday 10pm hole. That opens a prime Mondays at 10pm slot for Hawaii Five-O, CBS’ prized new offering.

CBS’ surprising scheduling moves are bullish and definitely send a message to the other networks. While CBS has had a strong, yet unexciting line-up, they aren’t going to be complacent going into next season. These moves are definitely attempts to boost the network on all nights, shore up their viewers and possibly limping their competitors, especially NBC with the moves of Survivor against the J.J. Abrams drama Undercovers and the comedy intrusion on NBC’s former stronghold.

CBS has definitely made the battles a lot more interesting next season.

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Grace Park? That’s pretty much enough reason to watch the Hawaii Five-O reboot. But it’s also got CBS teacher’s pet Alex O’Laughlin, Daniel Dae Kim and the always awesome Scott Caan. It seems very high energy, high adrenaline and very expensive and it definitely shows. It inherits the timeslot CSI: Miami has long dominated and one tropical locale to another could help keep those viewers on CBS.

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Hard to judge $#*! My Dad Says from the clips and without Ryan Devlin (who was sadly cut from the show). William Shatner should be great, but just how much can you really stretch a Tweet for a television series?

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Blue Bloods about a family in law enforcement is very interesting. The family angle definitely helps to set it apart from other procedurals, plus it has a pretty good cast including Donnie Wahlberg, Will Estes (Woohoo! American Dreams!) and the incomparable Tom Selleck who’s done very well for CBS with the Jesse Stone franchise. It’s Friday timeslot will pit Selleck against Smits so that will be very interesting to watch, maybe even more than the shows themselves!

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The Defenders fits the USA Network mold of procedurals with fun, light humor thrown in. Awesome if you get it right, disaster if you don’t. Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell are an interesting pair but fit perfectly in a premise like this. It gets a big boost from a Criminal Minds lead-in.

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Mike & Molly is a romantic comedy that should fit well with CBS’ other traditional comedies on Mondays.

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