Inside Move: CBS plays ‘CSI’ card

Eye hits Trump with ace up its sleeve

CBS is playing its “CSI” trump card against Donald Trump.

Eye has scheduled an original installment of the nation’s most popular TV show for Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. — directly opposite the timeslot premiere of “The Apprentice,” NBC’s new Mark Burnett-produced reality skein about the dog-eat-dog world of big business.

Move is no doubt intended to blunt whatever momentum “The Apprentice” gets from this week’s special 90-minute Thursday premiere, which airs after one of the few remaining original episodes of “Friends.” CBS had already previously decided to counterprogram “The Apprentice’s” Thursday premiere by airing a repeat “CSI” at 8 p.m.

Such ultracompetitive scheduling maneuvers were commonplace about five years ago but have cooled somewhat in recent years. But in addition to simply being smart scheduling, the Eye’s decision to attack “The Apprentice” with “CSI” can be interpreted as a mild tweaking of “Survivor” guru Burnett, who now has two reality shows at NBC.

CBS also has a history with Trump: Net once aired the mogul’s collection of beauty pageants. Those pageants landed at NBC.

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