UPFRONT: CBS Goes High-Concept

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CBS is throwing out the rule book next season with a slate of edgy, high-concept dramas including the Hugh Jackman musical Viva Laughlin, a spin-off of the British hit Viva Blackpool, the vampire thriller Moonlight, the Jimmy Smits family soap opera Cane with its overtones of Scarface, and the midseason entry Swingtown, which examines the sexual liberation of the ‘70s.

“The shows that we picked up this year,” said Nina Tassler, President, CBS Entertainment, “are daring. They are different.”

The network also will add a new comedy to its Monday night lineup – The Big Bang Theory from Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre.

How I Met Your Mother will anchor Monday leading into Bang, Two and A Half Men, and Rules of Engagement.

The network gave The New Adventures of Old Christine an abbreviated 13-episode order and also is looking at additional comedies for midseason, which could go toward a second comedy block on a broadcast schedule that is overall light on laughers this season.

The unscripted series Kid Nation, which has 40 kids, ages 8-15, living sans parents and building their own community, will anchor Wednesday night.

The show had drawn early comparisons to the brutal literary classic Lord of the Flies, but Tassler stressed Kid Nation’s feel-good premise – no one gets voted out of the community and no pigs are injured. Keeping strong performers Criminal Minds and CSI: NY on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., respectively, is an opportunity to make gains on a night when ABC and NBC are heavy on new shows.

CBS also is optimistic about its prospects on Thursday night this fall when Without A Trace goes back to 10 p.m. (displacing Shark, which moves to Sundays at 10 p.m.) where it will go head to head with NBC’s aging ER and ABC’s new drama Big Shots.

Tassler stressed the network’s stability with returning series including its high-performing crime procedurals and last year’s success stories Shark, Ghost Whisperer, and The Unit.  

“We had an interesting year,” said Tassler during a morning press conference at CBS headquarters in New York. “This was the year we had the stability, we had the strength. We were going to make some noise, stir things up. And we did."

The network will premiere the Drew Carey reality show Power of 10 this summer and has ordered another cycle of Amazing Race for midseason.

Jericho, Close to Home, The Class, and the reality show Armed and Famous did not make the cut.

CBS TELEVISION NETWORK

2007-2008 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

(N=New, NT=New Time, all times ET/PT)

MONDAY

8:00-8:30 PMHOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

8:30-9:00 PMTHE BIG BANG THEORY (N)

9:00-9:30 PMTWO AND A HALF MEN

9:30-10:00 PMRULES OF ENGAGEMENT

10:00-11:00 PMCSI: MIAMI

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PMNCIS

9:00-10:00 PMTHE UNIT

10:00-11:00 PMCANE (N)

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:00 PMKID NATION (N)

9:00-10:00 PMCRIMINAL MINDS

10:00-11:00 PMCSI: NY

THURSDAY

8:00-9:00 PMSURVIVOR

9:00-10:00 PMCSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

10:00-11:00 PMWITHOUT A TRACE (NT)

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PMGHOST WHISPERER

9:00-10:00 PMMOONLIGHT (N)

10:00-11:00 PMNUMB3RS

SATURDAY

8:00-9:00 PMCRIMETIME SATURDAY

9:00-10:00 PMCRIMETIME SATURDAY

10:00-11:00 PM48 HOURS: MYSTERY

SUNDAY

7:00-8:00 PM60 MINUTES

8:00-9:00 PMVIVA LAUGHLIN (N)

9:00-10:00 PMCOLD CASE

10:00-11:00 PMSHARK (NT)

CBS primetime

schedule for 2007-2008

 

7:00

7:30

8:00

8:30

9:00

9:30

10:00

10:30

Mon.

How I Met Your Mother

Big Bang Theory

Two and a Half Men

Two and a Half Men

Tues.

Wed.

Thur.

Fri.

Moonlight

Numbers

Sat.

Sun.

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