CBS said it would launch new editions of its long running ‘NCIS’ and ‘CSI’ franchises, air a final year of “Two and a Half Men” and follow a strategy of airing more original programming throughout the 2014-2015 TV season as it echoed the chorus of TV networks vowing to launch new content throughout the year, not just between May and September.
“We no longer have a midseason,” said Nina Tassler, chairman of CBS Entertainment, during a presentation of the new schedule to reporters Wednesday morning. Instead, she said, CBS intends to launch new series in fall, spring and summer.
Indeed, the network’s fall schedule – which includes four new dramas and a comedy – seems an attempt to mix the return of veteran shows with the need to launch new series to keep viewers surprised and interested.
“We roll out big shows all year long,” she said, noting the success CBS found with last summer’s “Under The Dome” and how it hoped to extend it with a new summer drama, “Extant,” then follow it with launches in the fall and the introduction of familiar programs like “Mike & Molly,” “Undercover Boss” and “The Mentalist” in the spring.
Gone are series including “The Crazy Ones,” “Hostages” and “Intelligence.”
CBS also had to plan a schedule that could accommodate eight weeks of Thursday-night broadcasts of NFL football. As such, the network, the most-watched broadcast outlet in the nation, said it would start its most popular comedy, “The Big Bang Theory” on Monday nights before switching it back later in the season.
Mondays will look significantly different for CBS, which has run a block of four comedies between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. since the mid-1980s. After using “Big Bang” and “Mom” to kick off the night, CBS said it would devote 9 p.m. to a new hour-long drama, “Scorpion,” that focuses on a gang of brilliant misfits who try to hold the line against high-tech threats. The show counts Nicholas Wooton, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Walter O’Brien and Justin Lin among its executive producers. CBS is shifting “NCIS: Los Angeles” to the 10 p.m. hour from Mondays.
Tuesdays, however, will still feature two hours of “NCIS” programming. That’s because CBS will launch “NCIS: New Orleans” at 9 p.m, and place it between the original “NCIS” at 8 p.m. and “Person of Interest” at 10 p.m.
Wednesdays will continue to feature “Survivor” at 8 p.m. and “Criminal Minds” at 9 p.m. CBS will introduce a new drama, “Stalker,” at 10 p.m. The series, which features Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott in a thriller about detectives who investigate stalking incidents. Kevin Williamson is the executive producer.
After football ends on Oct. 23, CBS will start a familiar comedy-based Thursday night schedule the following week . “Big Bang Theory” and “The Millers” will anchor the 8 p.m. hour, while “Two and a Half Men,” one of CBS’ longest-running series, will start its last cycle on the network at 9 p.m. Executive producer Chuck Lorre will work on what Tassler called a “season-long event” in the vein of the recently completed season of the departing “How I Met Your Mother” to attract audiences for a farewell.
CBS will launch “The McCarthys” at 9:30 p.m. The half-hour comedy centers on the outlying member of a loud sports-crazed Boston family who decides to join his father as a high-school coach. CBS will air returning drama “Elementary” at 10 p.m.
CBS has moved “The Amazing Race” to Fridays from Sundays, though the network has ordered just one cycle so far, Tassler said. The show will start at 8 p.m., followed by “Hawaii Five-0″ at 9 p.m. and “Blue Bloods” a 10 p.m.
As has become the norm, CBS will air drama repeats for the first two hours of Saturday night, and follow them with “48 Hours” at 10 p.m.
CBS will launch a new show, “Madam Secretary,” at 8 p.m. on Sundays following “60 Minutes.” The new drama stars Tea Leoni as a newly appointed Secretary of State. Tassler billed the program as what might happen if CBS’ “The Good Wife” and “60 Minutes” married and had offspring. “Good Wife” will continue in its 9 p.m. time slot, followed by an old favorite in a new perch, “CSI:Crime Scene Investigation.” When that landmark series finishes its run, CBS will launch a new edition, “CSI: Cyber,” featuring Patricia Arquette as a FBI agent who tries to stop illegal activities that take place online.
Tassler said CBS was prepared to launch several new series later in the season, including “Battle Creek,” a drama about two mismatched law-enforcement officers. Vince Gilligan, David Shore, Mark Johnson and Bryan Singer as executive producers. The network has also prepared a new version of “The Odd Couple,” starring Matthew Perry as slob Oscar Madison and Thomas Lennon as neat-freak Felix Unger.