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CBS shores up sked but questions remain

No word yet on 'Two and a Half Men,' 'Unforgettable,' 'CSI' spinoffs

CBS became the first broadcaster to announce renewals for the 2012-13 season, saying Wednesday that it will bring back 18 series.

But the fate of hit comedy “Two and a Half Men,” which survived the departure of longtime star Charlie Sheen, remains tied up in “preliminary discussions” with the studio. Tenth season could hinge on the return of Sheen’s replacement, Ashton Kutcher, who signed only a one-year deal.

The rest of the Monday lineup, “How I Met Your Mother,” “Mike and Molly” and freshman series “Two Broke Girls,” will be back, as will “The Big Bang Theory.” “Mother” and “Theory” were already guaranteed to come back as part of multiyear deals.

Scheduled to return on the drama side are “NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “CSI,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Good Wife,” “The Mentalist,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Blue Bloods” and freshman series “Person of Interest.”

Failing to secure renewals at this point are half-hours “Rob” and “Rules of Engagement,” as well as rookie dramas “Unforgettable” and “A Gifted Man.” Two “CSI” spinoffs, “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: NY,” failed to get pickups as well.

That the Miami and New York editions of “CSI” are on the bubble is not entirely surprising as both are showing their age this season. The older of the two, “CSI: Miami,” is down 14% season to date in the demo vs. its performance in the same Sunday 10 p.m. timeslot last year. “CSI: NY” is down only 5% from last year, a solid performer for the Eye’s Friday lineup.

“Gifted Man” does not have a good shot as it never seemed to find traction in its Friday timeslot, where “Undercover Boss” is doing better than the 1.3 rating in 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers overall that the medical drama averaged. “Unforgettable” is doing better markedly better (2.7 in 18-49, 12.6 million) than “Gifted Man,” but CBS probably think it can improve its Tuesday 10 p.m. performance given the powerhouse lead-in of both “NCIS” series.

The uncertainty hanging over “Rob” and “Rules of Engagement” may be nothing more than a reflection of the fact that CBS is too early into the development season to know whether they will be needed yet. “Engagement” has proved a solid utility player, and “Rob” has performed better on Thursday after “Big Bang Theory” than some of the Eye’s other efforts on the night.

A renewal doesn’t necessarily mean a series will be on the fall schedule; there’s always the possibility CBS could hold over some for slots in the midseason.

On the unscripted side, CBS will return “60 Minutes,” “48 Hours,” “Undercover Boss,” “The Amazing Race,” and the previously announced “Survivor.”

Season to date, CBS is up slightly in the 18-49 demo year over year, running second to Fox. But the Eye is tops among viewers 25-54.

Rick Kissell contributed to this story.

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