As we speak, the five broadcast networks are toiling away trying to configure their fall schedule, decide the fate of your favorite bubble show, and mount new strategies to make up for their respective weaknesses this year. It’s a stressful time for all those involved in the television industry, but it can also be quite exciting, as the prospect of new series and scheduling improvements can only mean good things for each network’s bottom line. Concerned with bottom lines are KSiteTV’s Craig Byrne and Shilo Adams, who have taken it upon themselves to try and predict what every broadcast network will be doing next season. Neither has access to inside information, nor does either think that any schedule they put out will be completely, or even mostly, accurate. This is simply a fun project put forth by two big TV fans who follow the trades, keep up with development, and possess decent deductive reasoning skills. If a show that you like isn’t mentioned or gets mentioned disparagingly, please don’t take it personally. We’re just trying to figure these schedules out.
The fourth network to reveal their schedule this year, on May 18, will be CBS, which found some solid performers in its freshman crop but nothing that was a breakout on the level of Scorpion from the year prior. Their attempts to go into single camera comedy produced mixed results, as Angel From Hell was quickly pulled and Life in Pieces looks good for a second season, while Elementary was moved from its Thursday slot to the Sunday Siberia slot and The Good Wife concluded its seven season run, leaving the network one critical darling lighter. Going into 2016-2017, CBS will again be faced with the task of finding its next comedy hit and configuring its fleet of procedurals so that syndication packages can be bolstered while strong lead-ins get put to good use. But how will CBS’s fall schedule go about advancing their comedy agenda? And what will their Sunday look like without The Good Wife?
Like ABC, CBS now has new leadership, with Glenn Geller taking over from Nina Tassler’s successful run at the network. Will he make some bold moves, or will he continue the path of familiar stability? We shall see…
SHILO: 7:00 60 Minutes; 8:00 Bunker Hill; 9:00 Madam Secretary; 10:00 Elementary
CRAIG: 7:00 60 Minutes; 8:00 Madam Secretary; 9:00 Drew; 10:00 Elementary
SHILO: Typically, CBS uses Sunday as a syndication farm for shows whose linear ratings might not be up to snuff but whose episode counts for future syndication packages need padding. Part of the reason they use Sunday is because of the fall NFL overrun, often unreliable and always responsible for when the 10:00 drama airs out of primetime, but the problem in constructing a 2016-2017 schedule for CBS is that they don’t have anything that fits the bill for Sundays. NCIS: Los Angeles still has some juice; Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders will be of better use on Wednesdays; CSI: Cyber will get, at best, a 13-episode order that would leave them back to square one; and Limitless doesn’t gel with the rest of the night in terms of tone. So what does CBS do?
My guess is that they try an older-skewing drama in an earlier hour, so as to catch more of the NFL tailwind and further deepen their drama slate. What’s most interesting about CBS Sundays is that they never pull 60 Minutes in order for the 8:00 drama to start on time, so rather than looking for something that goes with the NFL (young, male), the answer to their Sunday problems is something that goes with the newsmagazine. I decided to go with medical drama Bunker Hill, as medical dramas that don’t noticeably deviate from the genre’s formula tend to skew older and its logline sounds like something that would flow well with both 60 Minutes and Madam Secretary. In particular, the latter will be going into its third season, making its move to a later, more difficult slot understandable, given that it’s a lock for at least four seasons anyway due to being produced in-house.
CRAIG: First off, I really wish there was a scenario where I could slot Supergirl on Sundays at 8, but I think if that’s going to happen, it will have to be midseason where there isn’t football and the associated delays from football to contend with. Shame, because, again, this would be a good night of powerful women, with Joan Watson being the powerful woman of choice on Elementary, of course. Maybe at midseason?
I am still going the “strong women” route, though, with Drew. I hate, hate, hate the title — makes me think of Carey or Barrymore before I’d ever think of Nancy Drew — and I still think there’s a good CW teen Nancy Drew series to be told somewhere — but Sarah Shahi has been a CBS favorite, it would skew female enough not to be harmed by The Walking Dead. It’d also be quite compatible with Elementary. It’s also another known IP thing that might be easier to market, and I’d assume it would be a good mix of procedural and continuing elements, which CBS usually does very well. Bonus if Pamela Sue Martin ever shows up.