CBS eyes new beachheads

New shows have ratings promise, with support from timeshifted vets

Serial skepticism
ABC | CBS | Fox | NBC | CW | Cable | PBS

Moving primetime’s top comedy series to a new home could be considered a questionable move, except that CBS normally doesn’t attempt anything too risky.

As the Eye — known for its stability over the years — shifts laffer demo king “The Big Bang Theory” from Monday to Thursday, entertainment topper Nina Tassler remains confident that both geeks and civilians will retrain their viewing habits. It’s a move made from strength, not only because the “Big Bang” fan base should have no trouble adjusting but because CBS has a strong post-“Two and a Half Men” substitute with “Mike & Molly.”

“This was a great opportunity for us to really move (“Big Bang”) into a strategic place and let it open the night,” Tassler says. “We don’t expect it to do the numbers that it’s done on Monday just yet, but I think the show has distinguished itself in a way that we haven’t seen a comedy like this in a while.”

With Chuck Lorre at the helm, chances for “Mike & Molly” look solid. The same can’t be said for “$#*! My Dad Says,” a pilot that has undergone casting changes and has failed to impress many critics. While the net has a strong comedy record, this William Shatner starrer could be vulnerable.

The move of “Big Bang” isn’t the only big-time shift. In order to make room for the sitcom, “Survivor” is leaving its longtime Thursday slot for Wednesdays, potentially becoming a nice lead-in for ratings-steady procedural “Criminal Minds.” Then at 10 p.m., “The Defenders” is one of three new shows vying for dominance in the hour.

As for what might be the Eye’s best chances for a new show to become a permanent staple on the schedule for years to come, the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot on Monday figures to get solid sampling based on the popularity of the Jack Lord original.


“Mike & Molly”
Though weight might be at the crux of the new series “Mike & Molly,” don’t expect to hear only a barrage of fat jokes from start to finish.

Exec producers Mark Roberts and Chuck Lorre believe that in order for the show to succeed, the attraction of the characters played by Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy will be based on similarities that have nothing to do with visits to Overeaters Anonymous sessions.

“It’s a show about people trying to make their lives better and find someone that they can have a committed relationship with,” Lorre said. “It’s about real people, real problems. If we’re still talking about this issue (weight) come episode six, we’ve got a serious problem because it would get tired really quickly. It’s not enough to hang a series on, not by any stretch of the imagination.”


“Blue Blood”
An Eye mainstay for decades with “Magnum P.I.” and the “Jesse Stone” telepics, this time Tom Selleck is the top cop of the NYPD, with his kid Donnie Wahlberg on the force. Selleck will undoubtedly be asked to choose between family and work. For which will he turn a blind eye?

“The Defenders”
Bringing a death penalty case to Las Vegas-based tongue-in-cheek defense attorneys Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell might not be the best strategy, but the duo should have an eclectic group of clients to have fun with. Pilot indicates this should be far less serious than other 10 o’clock dramas.

“Hawaii Five-O”
The Pacific waters will be just as blue, the iconic theme song remains the same and like in the original, there’s only so many places a crook can run from the law on an island. With “Moonlight” and “Three Rivers” in his rear window, Alex O’Loughlin gets some more CBS love as the new Steve McGarrett. He’s backed up by energetic detective Scott Caan and TV faves Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost”) and Grace Park (“Battlestar Galactica”).

“$#*! My Dad Says”
Based on the popular Twitter feed, exec producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick try to bring a little “Will & Grace” magic to this William Shatner vehicle. Looks like they might have their work cut out for them as the inauspicious pilot needed to be recast, rewritten and reshot.