Upfronts 2014: CBS makes few changes, emphasizes stability
CBS announced that next season will be the last for “Two and a Half Men” as it debuted a fall schedule Wednesday that emphasizes stability. The network also said it would abandon the concept of midseason and premiere its top shows year-round.
Next season will be the 12th for Chuck Lorre's “Two and a Half Men,” a huge hit that survived the high-profile exit of Charlie Sheen in 2010. Ashton Kutcher took his place, but this year, Angus T. Jones — the “half” man of the title — found religion and announced that he was also leaving the show because he felt like a “paid hypocrite.”
Though ratings have slipped, “Men” is one of CBS's biggest success stories. It is a huge hit in syndication, and its total value has been estimated at more than $1 billion.
CBS entertainment chair Nina Tassler was asked if Sheen might return at some point in the final season of “Men.”
“I would like to see whatever Chuck would like to do,” she said. “He has assured us that he has a lot of surprises in store. I don't know if that's one of them.”
Tassler noted that Fox has abandoned the pilot season calendar, in which networks all compete for the same talent and shows through the winter and spring. She said CBS is following the year-round approach by “officially retiring the phrase midseason.”
“We'll roll out our big shows all-year round,” she said.
Tassler also said CBS decided to pass on the “How I Met Your Mother” spinoff “How I Met Your Father” after the network asked for the pilot to be re-shot and its producers opted not to accept the changes.
The network's new schedule includes only five new dramas and one new comedy. CBS said it was trying to blend opportunity with stability.
“Scorpion” will air on Mondays at 9 p.m. The new “NCIS: New Orleans” unsurprisingly received the 9 p.m. Tuesday night time slot after “NCIS.” “NCIS: Los Angeles is moving to Mondays at 10.
The new “Stalker” will air Wednesday nights at 10 p.m., and “The McCarthys” will join CBS's comedies Thursdays. The network will also air NFL “Thursday Night Football.”
Sundays will add “Madam Secretary” at 8. At 10, “CSI: Cyber,” which will rotate with “CSI.”
Here is CBS's full schedule, as described by the network:
MONDAYS – The #1 scripted series THE BIG BANG THEORY moves to 8:00 PM to start the season, providing a strong launch pad for the night. When THE BIG BANG THEORY returns to its Thursday night home, 2 BROKE GIRLS moves to the 8:00 PM slot, paired nicely with the critically acclaimed MOM, this year's #2 new comedy, which is moving to 8:30 PM. At 9:00 PM, SCORPION, a new high-octane drama with a lot of humor, leads into NCIS: LOS ANGELES, broadcast television's second-most-watched drama, which moves to Monday at 10:00 PM, delivering a strong finish to the night.
TUESDAYS – Television's most-watched drama, NCIS, is back at 8:00 PM as a seamless lead-in to its spinoff, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, at 9:00 PM. PERSON OF INTEREST returns at 10:00 PM, where it increased the time period by nearly +30% in key demographics this season, contributing to a consistently dominant night.
WEDNESDAYS – The resurgent reality series SURVIVOR returns at 8:00 PM, following another time period-winning season in viewers and demographics. CRIMINAL MINDS, which increased its audience this year and was the #1 program of the night, returns at 9:00 PM as an ideal lead-in for the gripping new psychological thriller STALKER at 10:00 PM.
THURSDAYS - NFL THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL kicks off on Sept. 11, giving CBS a strong platform to launch the new season. The Network's top-rated entertainment schedule resumes on Oct. 30, offering virtually all new episodes for the rest of the season. THE BIG BANG THEORY moves back to its 8:00 PM slot, leading into THE MILLERS, last season's #1 new comedy in viewers and demographics, at 8:30 PM. With the popular TWO AND A HALF MEN returning at 9:00 PM, the new multi-camera family comedy THE McCARTHYS has three top comedies leading into its 9:30 PM slot. ELEMENTARY caps the night, returning to its time period-winning 10:00 PM slot.
FRIDAYS – At 8:00 PM, THE AMAZING RACE becomes the latest Emmy Award-winning reality series to open Friday night. It joins the top-rated duo of HAWAII FIVE-0 at 9:00 PM and the night's #1 program, BLUE BLOODS, at 10:00 PM.
SATURDAYS – CBS's Saturday lineup features CRIMETIME SATURDAY, encore broadcasts of the Network's popular dramas at 8:00 PM and 9:00 PM, followed by the night's top-rated series for the last eight years, 48 HOURS, at 10:00 PM.
SUNDAYS – Two key time period changes bolster the night. The renowned 60 MINUTES, television's #1 news program, returns at 7:00 PM. Joining the night at 8:00 PM is the new stately drama series MADAM SECRETARY, providing an ideal bridge between 60 MINUTES and one of television's finest dramas, THE GOOD WIFE, at 9:00 PM. The popular CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION is new to the night at 10:00 PM. When it completes its run of original episodes, the new CSI spinoff, CSI: CYBER, will take over, creating an extended run of original episodes in the time period.