Networks sometimes don't get enough credit (or blame) for scheduling moves and the use of summer to lay the groundwork for the fall. So hats off to CBS for the summer surge exhibited by its comedy "The Big Bang Theory," which looks poised to blow up during the 2009-10 season in its new timeslot following "Two and a Half Men."
"TBBT" (as it's known to lazy friends with a fondness for symmetry) is now consistently building on "Men's" lead-in among adults age 18-49, which suggests that audience is coming to and sampling the show during the summer. Moreover, it skews younger than "Men," which explains why it can deliver a higher 18-49 rating (2.7 to 2.5) while still attracting a smaller audience (8 million on Monday, vs. "Men's" 8.6 million).
If the sophomore series can continue matching "Men's" demo performance in the fall it will provide CBS a hugely formidable 9 o'clock tandem — and a valuable building block for expanding (or at least continuing) its success with conventional multicamera sitcoms. (That's Emmy nominee Jim Parsons, by the way, looking appropriately smug, pictured.)
Moreover, "Big Bang" is precisely the kind of show that could have considerable value to its production company, Warner Bros., down the road given its bull's-eye appeal among young men.
Producer Chuck Lorre — who oversees "Men" and "Big Bang" — often enjoys poking fun at CBS with his vanity cards, but if the latter explodes come September in part because of the network's savvy scheduling move, he's going to have one less thing to complain about.
Then again, as a longtime admirer of those soul-baring end-of-show messages, I have no doubt he'll have no trouble finding something else to fill the void.