CBS is aggressively moving shows around its schedule this fall to strengthen Wednesday and Friday nights, exporting known shows from Monday and Tuesday to those nights. The network also wants to boost Sunday by building another Jerry Bruckheimer franchise, Cold Case, at 8 p.m. ET. (CSI, CSI Miami and Without a Trace are also produced by Bruckheimer.)
The network will roll out the most new dramas of any network (5) and the fewest new comedies (2). Three of the dramas—Navy CIS, The Handler
and Cold Case—are crime-based, a successful genre for CBS.
Two are character-driven: David E. Kelley's Brotherhood of Poland, N.H., and Joan of Arcadia, from Judging Amy
creator and executive producer Barbara Hall.
CBS enters the 2003-04 season tops in viewers, and CBS Chairman/CEO Leslie Moonves said he expects CBS to close the ever-shrinking gap between it and NBC in adults 18-49 (he claims NBC leads that demo by 0.6 in Nielsen ratings) and adults 25-54 (where CBS says it trails by 0.4). Still, for the 2003-04 season, NBC has the 2004 Summer Olympics and the last season of Friends, and Fox will return with American Idol, so improving younger demos at CBS is no sure thing.
New for the Fall
2 sitcoms / 5 dramas
Two and a Half Men
(sitcom, Monday, 9:30)—The life of a wealthy bachelor (Charlie Sheen) is turned upside-down when his separated brother (Jon Cryer) and nephew move into his Malibu beach house. Chuck Lorre, Lee Arohnsohn, Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum, Mark Burg and Oren Koules executive-produce for Chuck Lorre Productions and The Tannenbaum Company with Warner Bros. Television.
(drama, Tuesday, 8)—JAG
spinoff starring Mark Harmon about the Navy's criminal investigative services unit. JAG's Donald P. Bellasario executive-produces, with Paramount Network Television.
(sitcom, Wednesday, 9:30)—Two adult children live at home with their divorcing parents, played by Robert Klein and Judith Light. David Kohan and Max Mutchnik executive-produce for KoMut Entertainment with Warner Bros. Television.
The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H.
(drama, Wednesday, 10)—Kelley's quirky drama about three brothers and their families living in a small town. Moonves compared it to Picket Fences. Kelley and Michael Pressman executive-produce. From David E. Kelley Productions with Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Joan of Arcadia
(drama, Friday, 8)—Teenage girl moves with her family to the suburbs and begins to get messages from God, whom she sees in everyday people. Barbara Hall executive-produces. From CBS Productions with Sony Pictures Television.
(drama, Friday, 10)—The Sopranos' Joe Pantoliano stars as an FBI boss who trains agents for Mission Impossible-like tasks. Chris Haddock executive-produces. From Viacom Productions.
(drama, Sunday, 8)—Female detective investigates old crimes left unsolved. Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman and Meredith Stiehm executive-produce. From CBS Productions with Warner Bros. Television.
CBS has no midseason series.