'Criminal' spinoff also readied for February launch

CBS will switch around 10 p.m. dramas “Blue Bloods” and “The Defenders” early next year, moving the Tom Selleck starrer from Fridays to Wednesdays for a limited run.

Despite its Friday time­slot, often a graveyard for shows, “Blue Bloods” has been broadcast TV’s top freshman drama in overall viewers except for fellow CBS skein “Hawaii Five-0.” The series now gets a shot at a higher-profile airing, running for four weeks beginning Jan. 19 after veteran hit “Criminal Minds.”

Then, on Feb. 16, spinoff series “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” starring Forest Whitaker with Janeane Garofolo, will begin airing in the 10 p.m. Wednesday slot, while “Blue Bloods” returns to Fridays on Feb. 11, at least for the time being. Edward Allen Bernero, Mark Gordon, Deborah Spera and Chris Mundy exec produce “CM2″ for ABC Studios in association with CBS TV Studios.

Meanwhile, “The Defenders,” featuring Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell, will move on Feb. 4 into the 8 p.m. Friday timeslot being vacated by “Medium,” whose series finale will air Jan. 21. In October, CBS small-sized its 2010-11 “Medium” order, knocking it down from 22 to 13. (“Medium” launched on NBC in January 2005, then moved to the Eye in September 2009.)

“The Defenders” is broadcast TV’s No. 3 new drama in total viewers.

Two other premiere dates were announced by CBS. Sitcom “Mad Love,” starring Sarah Chalke, Judy Greer, Jason Biggs and Tyler Labine, will take flight Mondays at 8:30 p.m. beginning Feb. 21, with “Rules of Engagement” moving to Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. following “The Big Bang Theory.” The current occupant of that timeslot, “Bleep My Dad Says,” will have completed its freshman run, with its prospects for renewal in doubt.

Matt Tarses and Jamie Tarses are executive producers of “Mad Love” for Sony Pictures TV, in association with CBS TV Studios.

“Chaos,” a drama with comedic underpinnings about a group of rouge CIA spies, will premiere April 1 in the 8 p.m. Friday timeslot, after “The Defenders” finishes its frosh campaign. Tom Spezialy and Brett Ratner exec produce “Chaos,” which stars Freddy Rodriguez, Eric Close, James Murray, Tim Blake Nelson and Carmen Ejogo.

CBS also confirmed that “Survivor” will have its season 22 premiere on Feb. 16, staying in the 8 p.m. Wednesday timeslot it moved to this past September. A new wrinkle for the veteran show will send competitors who have been eliminated to an isolated “Redemption Island,” where they will live solo before getting a chance to compete against subsequent redemption castaways for a return to the main event.

CBS previously announced that unscripted series “Live to Dance,” featuring Paula Abdul, would launch Jan. 4 before moving into its regular 8 p.m. Wednesday timeslot Jan. 5, running until the “Survivor” season premiere.

The Eye is No. 1 in overall viewers and the 18-49 and 25-54 demos so far in the 2010-11 TV season.

“We’re in the fortunate position of having a schedule with many successful shows and very few holes,” CBS senior exec veep of primetime Kelly Kahl said. “This allows us to be very targeted with our midseason series. These are moves that maintain the core stability of a successful schedule, while giving us multiple looks for the future at a few time periods.”

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