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CBS Keeping Winter Timeslots Warm With Returns of ‘The Mentalist,’ ‘Undercover Boss’

The broadcast networks continue to make a push toward more scripted original programming throughout the year, with CBS on Tuesday laying out winter schedule plans that include the return of “The Mentalist” — in what will be its final season — and “Undercover Boss.”

Looking to maximize ratings across the week by reducing the number of repeats, the Eye will keep its Sunday lineup fresh by airing original episodes of “Mentalist” and “Undercover Boss” before these shows assume new timeslots in January. The net is also going all-original in the leadoff hours on both Wednesday and Friday.

CBS will rest Sunday dramas “Madam Secretary” and “The Good Wife” starting at the end of November, with the shows replaced by “Undercover Boss” and “The Mentalist,” respectively. “Madam” and “Wife” will return on Jan. 4 and finish the season with little or no repeats.

“The Mentalist” will be airing on Sunday behind “60 Minutes” for five weeks (Nov. 30-Dec. 28). It will then move to Wednesday at 8 p.m., where it will fill the “Survivor” slot between the end of the fall cycle and the beginning of the spring cycle of the veteran reality series. The Simon Baker-fronted series, which was a surprise renewal in May, will air 13 episodes and conclude with a two-hour finale on Feb. 18.

“Undercover Boss” returns for its sixth season on Dec. 14 with the first of three Sunday airings. It then shifts to Friday (its timeslot of last season) starting Jan. 2.

As usual, “Survivor” (Dec. 17) and “Amazing Race” (Dec. 19) will wrap their fall editions with mid-December finales. The shows then kick off their spring cycles with back-to-back 90-minute episodes on Feb. 25. “Race” slides over to Friday two nights later.

“One of the goals this season was to keep expanding our lineup of year-round, original programming and have fewer repeat cycles,” said Kelly Kahl, Senior Executive Vice President, CBS Primetime. “We’re fortunate to have two popular, proven ratings winners in “The Mentalist” and “Undercover Boss” to seamlessly join our schedule.”

Here’s a look at key dates for CBS:

Sunday, Effective Nov. 30 (Football Doubleheader)
8:30-9:30 PM, ET/8:00-9:00 PM, PT              MADAM SECRETARY
9:30-10:30 PM, ET/9:00-10:00 PM, PT          THE MENTALIST (7th Season Premiere)
10:30-11:30 PM, ET/10:00-11:00 PM, PT      CSI

Sunday, Dec. 14
8:00-9:00 PM              UNDERCOVER BOSS (6th Season Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM            THE MENTALIST
10:00-11:00 PM          CSI

Wednesday, Dec. 17
8:00-10:00 PM            SURVIVOR (season finale)
10:00-11:00 PM          SURVIVOR LIVE REUNION SHOW (Live ET/Delayed PT)

Friday, Dec. 19
8:00-9:00 PM              THE AMAZING RACE (Season Finale)
9:00-10:00 PM            A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
10:00-11:00 PM          BLUE BLOODS

Sunday, Dec. 21 and 28 (Football Doubleheaders)
8:30-9:30 PM, ET/8:00-9:00 PM, PT              UNDERCOVER BOSS
9:30-10:30 PM, ET/9:00-10:00 PM, PT          THE MENTALIST
10:30-11:30 PM, ET/10:00-11:00 PM, PT      CSI

Friday, Effective Jan. 2
8:00-9:00 PM              UNDERCOVER BOSS (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM            HAWAII FIVE-0
10:00-11:00 PM          BLUE BLOODS

Sunday, Effective Jan. 4
8:00-9:00 PM              MADAM SECRETARY
9:00-10:00 PM            THE GOOD WIFE
10:00-11:00 PM          CSI

Wednesday, Jan. 7
8:00-9:00 PM              THE MENTALIST (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-11:00 PM            PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS (Special)

Wednesday, Effective Jan. 14
8:00-9:00 PM              THE MENTALIST
9:00-10:00 PM            CRIMINAL MINDS
10:00-11:00 PM          STALKER

Wednesday, Feb. 18
8:00-10:00 PM            THE MENTALIST (Series Finale)
10:00-11:00 PM          STALKER

Wednesday, Feb. 25
8:00-9:30 PM              SURVIVOR (30th Edition Premiere)
9:30-11:00 PM            THE AMAZING RACE (26th Edition Premiere)

Friday, Effective Feb. 27
8:00-9:00 PM              THE AMAZING RACE (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM            HAWAII FIVE-0
10:00-11:00 PM          BLUE BLOODS

Wednesday, March 4
8:00-9:00 PM              SURVIVOR (Time Period Premiere)
9:00-10:00 PM            CRIMINAL MINDS
10:00-11:00 PM          STALKER

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