WHAT WORKED: Pretty much everything. Net has added three solid pieces to its sked in “Joan of Arcadia,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Cold Case,” while military crime drama “Navy NCIS” has also performed well.
In part due to “Cold Case,” Sunday in general has been reinvigorated, with both “60 Minutes” and the “CBS Sunday Movie” on the rise. Key sked shifts of “King of Queens” to Wednesday and “JAG” to Friday have also worked, shoring up weak time periods.
And then there are specials. “Aside from ‘Victoria Secret’s (Fashion Show), which bombed and really isn’t a CBS show, everything has worked … from the CMAs to ‘Andy Griffith’ (reunion show) to the ‘CBS 75th Anniversary,’ ” says Brad Agate of Horizon Media.
Overall, the net is stronger than it’s been in years, and is working on spreading its wealth beyond top-rated Monday and Thursday. “Night by night, they’re pretty solid now that Friday and Sunday have improved,” Adgate says.
Through 13 weeks of the season, CBS is the No. 2 network in adults 18-49 (3.9/11), within shouting distance of NBC. Net is also the runaway leader in total viewers (averaging more than 13 million) and has a slight lead over NBC in the adults 25-54 demo.
Thursday drama “CSI” remains primetime’s most-watched show (averaging 26.3 million each week) and is also the leading program in key demos, while “Everybody Loves Raymond” is a close No. 2 to NBC’s “Friends” as TV’s most-watched comedy (18.5 million).
WHAT DIDN’T: The longest shots on the board for CBS in fall, Wednesday’s “Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.” and Friday’s “The Handler,” didn’t work, although the net is happy enough with the latter to grant it a full-season order.
Overall, CBS ranks fourth in adults 18-49 on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, so these are nights when the net is expected to concentrate most next season. The net’s urban crime dramas “Hack” and “The District” aren’t exactly keeping the masses from hitting the multiplexes on Saturday, and Tuesday vet “Judging Amy” has taken a hit opposite NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”
Wednesday, a prime contender for the next edition of “CSI” next fall, has been one of the net’s weakest nights for years.
WHAT’S AHEAD: The much-anticipated all-stars edition of “Survivor” could be a ratings juggernaut for CBS, giving it some extra ammo to deal with the final episodes of NBC’s “Friends” in the second half of the season. Futuristic legal drama “Century City” and domestic comedy “The Stones” join the return of music talent show “Star Search” as midseason entries. Emmy-winning “Amazing Race” will also be back, although possibly not until June.
“They’ve really become more competitive in adults 25-54, where they’re in a dogfight with NBC, and are a dark horse, with the Super Bowl, to win in 18-49 too,” says Adgate. “They don’t have to change a lot.”
Net will also learn in a month or so if Ray Romano wants to bring “Everybody Loves Raymond” back for a ninth season next fall, the tentpole for the net’s Monday laffer block since 1998.
Top 3 Shows:CSI – 9.3
Survivor – 7.7
CSI: Miami – 6.1