'Castle,' 'Cupid' set for spring launch

ABC and CBS are making plans for spring, finding homes for several more midseason skeins.

ABC is conducting an extreme 10 p.m. makeover after struggling with the timeslot this season. Blame it partly on the rise of DVRs: Studies have shown that viewers watch more of their pre-recorded fare during the 10 p.m. hour, and Alphabet execs believe they’ve been hit hard.

Net will take another stab at the timeslot — still a critical hour for affils, which depend on strong lead-ins for their local newscasts — with newcomers “Castle,” “Cupid” and “The Unusuals.”

Scheduling moves come following ABC’s decision not to move forward with new episodes of current 10 p.m. inhabitants “Eli Stone” and “Dirty Sexy Money.” (Another 10 p.m. entry, “Boston Legal,” is finishing its run at the end of fall.)

Meanwhile, the Eye already is looking ahead to summer, scheduling mystery skein “Harper’s Island” to spill over into the postseason.

“Harper’s” will air Thursdays at 10 p.m. starting April 9, after “Eleventh Hour” (which just scored a five-episode extension) ends its run.

Designed to unfold over 13 episodes — with a big reveal at the end — “Harper’s” won’t conclude until July 2.

Eye wasn’t deliberately looking to invoke a summer strategy, however. CBS wanted to give “Eleventh Hour” a little more time to grow. But at the same time, it didn’t want to put “Harper’s Island” on Friday nights, the only other available slot for the show.

The solution was to premiere “Harper’s Island” late in the season but give it a big push during CBS’ NCAA March Madness coverage. “Harper’s” also will benefit from several original, season-ending “CSI” episodes before it goes out on its own in the warm months.

“Harper’s Island” centers on a group of friends who gather on a secluded island for a wedding — but things soon turn to murder. CBS Paramount Network TV is behind the show, which comes from exec producers Jon Turteltaub and Jeffrey Bell. (Ari Schlossberg created the show.)

Eye also announced that last summer’s crime drama “Flashpoint,” which performed decently for the net, has been upgraded to an in-season timeslot. Show will air Fridays at 9 p.m. (in the slot vacated by the canceled “The Ex List”) starting Jan. 9.

That will make for a night of mystery and crime — genres that have become CBS’ bread and butter over the past decade.

Also, CBS will preem the reality skein “Game Show in My Head,” from Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst shingle, Fox21 and Hat Trick, with back-to-back episodes on Saturdays at 8 p.m. starting Jan. 3.

ABC’s week shapes up this way:

  • Mondays, starting March 9, the Alphabet will preem the crime-mystery skein “Castle.” Show takes over following the finale of the Ashton Kutcher/Tyra Banks reality skein “True Beauty,” which airs there starting in January.

“Castle,” from ABC Studios, stars Nathan Fillion as a novelist who discovers that a copycat killer is re-enacting crimes from his books. Andrew Marlowe created and exec produces; Armyan Bernstein, Barry Schindel, Rob Bowman and Laurie Zaks are also exec producers.

  • The Tuesday 10 p.m. slot will be filled in the winter with “Primetime: What Would You Do?,” which bows Jan. 6. “Primetime” will then make way for the new version of “Cupid,” which airs there starting March 24. (Both shows fill the void left by the vacating “Eli Stone.”)

Rob Thomas is behind the remake of his 1990s skein “Cupid,” this time starring Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson. ABC Studios is the studio; Thomas exec produces with Jennifer Gwartz, Danielle Stokdyk, Dan Etheridge and Diane Ruggerio.

  • Wednesdays at 10 p.m. — as previously announced — will be filled by “Life on Mars” beginning in January. But once “Mars” ends its run, ABC is set to preem the cop drama “The Unusuals,” which bows there on April 8. “Dirty Sexy Money” had previously occupied that hour.

“The Unusuals” stars Amber Tamblyn as a cop assigned to the homicide division. Noah Hawley created and exec produces, with Robert DeLaurentis and Peter O’Fallon. Sony Pictures TV is the studio.

Both “Castle” and “The Unusuals” have their work cut out for them, going up against crime drama vets “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: NY.”

ABC and CBS also announced the midseason returns of their signature reality skeins. CBS unscripted staple “Survivor” is back for an 18th cycle Feb. 12, and “The Amazing Race” bows its 14th edition Feb. 15.

Alphabet’s “Dancing With the Stars” returns Monday, March 9, with a two-hour special, continuing with several more two-hour segs before reverting to its normal 90-minute size on March 30. The “Dancing” results show comes in on Tuesday, March 17, at 9 p.m.

Also on Tuesday, the CW booked returnee “Reaper” back on its sked. Skein, which squeaked out a 13-episode order for this season, will bow its sophomore cycle on Tuesday, March 17, at 9 p.m. “Reaper” will air behind “90210” in the slot currently held by “Privileged.”

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