How CBS can spruce up its 2012-13 schedule

For all of CBS’s usual talk of stability, the network more often than not makes at least one unexpected, dramatic schedule shift each fall, the kind that have brought everything from “Without A Trace” to “The Good Wife” to new nights. CBS-Network-logo Yet there’s such strength spread throughout its sked this season, it’s difficult to conceive of why they would make one of their trademark switcheroos (see the proposed schedule listing below; read up on its series orders here).

CBS has an enviable dilemma on Mondays and Thursday: too much comedy wealth and another night that makes for the perfect place to spread that wealth. The question is, which series should be shipped off to Thursday to help “Big Bang Theory” transform 8-10 p.m. to a four-comedy lineup.

Complicating this task is that Monday is home to two still-very vital veterans in “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men,” neither of which will likely remain on air for more than another season or so. Which is why 9:30 p.m. entry “Mike & Molly” should have Thursday stamped on its passport, opening 9:30 p.m. for new comedy “Partners” and keeping “2 Broke Girls” in place at 8:30 p.m.

With “Molly” opening Thursday, comedy’s biggest hit “Big Bang Theory” can make its expected move to 9:30 p.m., where it will be paired with “Friend Me.” “Rules of Engagement” will stay at 8:30 p.m. but if the night catches fire look for CBS to sub it out for something new in the midseason. “Person of Interest” gets bumped to 10 p.m., which means “Mentalist” needs to find a new home.

How about Friday at 8 p.m.? After CBS flopped last year in that time period with “A Gifted Man,” there’s no reason to try something new on a night that can be difficult to launch new programming. That’s why “CSI: NY” and “Blue Bloods” should stay in place the rest of the night.

Expect the same stasis on Wednesday, which might be a good place to introduce a new drama in the midseason. Look for CBS to hold back “Golden Boy” and “Made in Jersey,” but roll the dice in the fall on its two other drama orders.

Innovative hour “Vegas Rising” is made to order for Sunday at 9 p.m., the only night CBS has conditioned its audiences to expect anything besides a formulaic procedural as they did with “Wife,” which needs to move to 10 p.m. if “Rising” is to maximize the amount of sampling necessary to get traction.

Same thinking applies to Tuesday at 9 p.m., where CBS should gamble on breaking up the “NCIS” and “NCIS: LA” tandem, if only to move the latter back an  hour to make room for “Elementary.” For a network that has few holes to fill, this might be as audacious a move as CBS needs to make, which isn’t very audacious at all.

Analysis: How Fox should tackle its 2012-13 schedule

Analysis: How NBC should rebuild its 2012-13 schedule

Analysis: How ABC should approach its 2012-13 schedule

MONDAY

8 p.m. “How I Met Your Mother”

8:30 p.m. “Two Broke Girls”

9 p.m. “Two and a Half Men”

9:30 p.m. “Partners” (new)

10 p.m. “Hawaii Five-0”

 

TUESDAY

8 p.m. “NCIS”

9 p.m. “Elementary” (new)

10 p.m. “NCIS: LA”

 

WEDNESDAY

8 p.m. “Survivor”

9 p.m. “Criminal Minds”

10 p.m. “CSI”

 

THURSDAY

8 p.m. “Mike & Molly”

8:30 p.m. “Rules of Engagement”

9 p.m. “Big Bang Theory”

9:30 p.m. “Friend Me” (new)

10 p.m. “Person of Interest”

 

FRIDAY

8 p.m. “”The Mentalist”

9 p.m. “CSI: NY”

10 p.m. “Blue Bloods”

 

SUNDAY

7 p.m. “60 Minutes”

8 p.m. Amazing Race”

9 p.m. “Vegas Rising” (new)

10 p.m. “The Good Wife”

 

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