From CBS, football & cyber-fears

Tea Leoni will star as the secretary of state in "Madam Secretary."
Tea Leoni will star as the secretary of state in "Madam Secretary."
Posted: May 16, 2014

NEW YORK - CBS is ready for some football.

Though still the most-watched network, it's no longer tops among the 18- to 49-year-olds that most advertisers target - unless you don't count sports. Which advertisers might.

Enter Thursday-night football, which will launch on CBS Sept. 11 with Pittsburgh-Baltimore, pushing the start of the network's Thursday entertainment lineup to Oct. 30. Fans of "The Big Bang Theory" won't have to wait that long. The hit show will be moved temporarily to 8 p.m. Mondays to lend support to the sophomore sitcom "Mom," at 8:30, before moving back to 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Next season will be the last for "Two and a Half Men," which will remain on Thursdays.

"Football is a big win for us," CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler told reporters yesterday in a news conference a few hours before she presented her fall schedule to advertisers at Carnegie Hall.

Except it's no longer just a fall schedule. Tassler's the latest network chief to argue for the retirement of the word "midseason," while her boss, CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves noted that last summer's "Under the Dome" was watched by more people than NBC's "The Blacklist" has been this season.

"We set out to develop a schedule that was really year-round," said Tassler.

Still, of the eight new series that the network announced, five will premiere this fall. (One of the shows waiting for not-midseason: "The Odd Couple" remake that stars Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.)

On Sunday, "The Good Wife" will get a lead-in that may remind viewers even more of Hillary Clinton, as Tea Leoni stars as a U.S. secretary of state in "Madam Secretary."

For the first time since 1986, CBS won't have a two-hour comedy block on Mondays, as "Scorpion," a drama about a "team of brilliant misfits" who fight high-tech threats, moves into the 9 p.m. slot, leading in to "NCIS: Los Angeles," relocating to make room on Tuesdays for the new "NCIS: New Orleans."

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," too, continues to spin off. The mothership is moving to Sundays at 10, where it will give way later in the season to "CSI: Cyber," which stars Patricia Arquette as a "cyber psychologist" for the FBI who's also charged with defusing high-tech threats.

And speaking of threats, the new Wednesday night drama "Stalker," from Kevin Williamson ("The Following") and starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott, is about detectives who investigate, among other things, cyber-harassment.

Internet miscreants might just want to log off now and avoid the fall rush.

The network's adding one new comedy in the fall, putting "The McCarthys," about "a loud, sports-crazed Boston family," after "Two and a Half Men."

CBS' bench is, as usual, deep, with "Mike & Molly," "The Mentalist" and "Undercover Boss" also expected to reappear at some point, along with "Battle Creek," a drama starring Josh Duhamel and Dean Winters as "mismatched police officers" in Battle Creek, Mich.

I wish there'd been room there for the Robin Williams comedy "The Crazy Ones," a very funny show that got canceled with the kind of ratings that would make it a moderate hit on other networks. But Tassler, noting that the bar is higher at CBS, said only that the show's numbers had "plateaued."

Wondering what happened to "How I Met Your Dad," the much-talked-about pilot from the creators of "How I Met Your Mother"?

So were reporters. Tassler didn't completely shut the door on a pickup for the show, but she didn't leave much daylight, indicating that the network had wanted changes - including a pilot reshoot - that the producers didn't seem interested in making.

Other returning shows: "NCIS," "Person of Interest," "Criminal Minds," "Elementary," "Hawaii Five-0," "Blue Bloods," "The Millers," "2 Broke Girls," "Survivor," "The Amazing Race" (which is moving to 8 p.m. Fridays), "60 Minutes" and "48 Hours."

Won't be back: "How I Met Your Mother," "We Are Men," "The Crazy Ones," "Friends With Better Lives," "Bad Teacher," "Hostages" and "Intelligence."


Phone: 215-854-5950

On Twitter: @elgray

Blog: ph.ly/EllenGray

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