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TV Column
Posted at 08:03 PM ET, 05/16/2012

Upfront Week 2012: CBS moves ‘Two and a Half Men’ to Thursday, ‘Mentalist’ to Sunday, unveils four new series


New CBS comedy series ‘Partners’ (Matt Kennedy - CBS)
“2 Broke Girls,” CBS’ young raunchy comedy hit, has driven the network’s older raunchy comedy hit “Two and a Half Men” out of Monday night, opening up a half-hour for the network’s only new comedy this fall.

It’s like that Great Circle of Life that Disney’s so fond of — or that fempire Fox programming chief Kevin Reilly marveled at a couple days ago!

Taking the open Monday timeslot is a new comedy called “Partners” based on the lives of comedy team David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, who created “Will & Grace” only this time it’s a straight architect, played by David Krumholtz (“Numbers”), and his gay co-worker, played by “Ugly Betty’s” Michael Urie. Advertisers seemed to love the clip they saw Wednesday afternoon at Carnegie Hall.

“Men,” like the hoary old lion who’s lost a step or two on the savanna, will go lick its wounded ego on Thursday nights, in company with the show it helped turn into a hit back in the day, “Big Bang Theory.”

CBS did not, however, launch a four-comedy block on Thursdays, as forecast, packing “BB” and “Men” into the 8 p.m. hour, to keep JJ Abrams’ “Person of Interest” intact at 9.

“We created a Super Comedy Hour – the No. 1 and No. 2 comedies,” CBS scheduling guru Kelly Kahl boasted during a breakfast news conference Wednesday morning.

Plus, “Person of Interest” provides maybe a more compatible leadin than comedies for TV’s latest update on the Sherlock Holmes story, “Elementary” — one of just three new dramas on CBS’s fall schedule. At 10 o’clock Thursdays with “Elementary” the field was “wide open for us,” Kahl said, noting NBC’s placement there of extremely low rated “Rock Center with Brian Williams” and ABC’s chick drama “Scandal.”


“Elementary” (Craig Blankenhorn - CBS)
“Elementary” is a gutsy move for CBS, not because it’s replacing “The Mentalist” on the night, but because it begs the very large question: with American viewers accept a show that stars a character who speaks with a British accent, even if they’re playing Sherlock Holmes – in New York?

Clearing up one of the great mysteries of this year’s Broadcast Upfront Week, CBS execs revealed that Sherlock Holmes killed Horatio Caine. (They had no explanation to offer for this week’s other great mystery: what’s NBC’s “Rock Center” doing at 10 on TV’s most important night?)

In order to open up the Thursday 10 p.m. hour for Sherlock — who will be played with that proper British accent by Jonny Lee Miller, BTW (Lucy Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson) CBS had to pluck “The Mentalist” out of the hour.

Network suits decided “Mentalist” was best moved to Sunday nights at 10, following “The Good Wife.” Into the tumbrel was tossed this season’s Sunday 10 o’clock drama, “CSI: Miami,” instead of the heavily favored to get the axe, “CSI: NY.”

The New York version of the “CSI” franchise instead survives on Friday, moved to 8, to become one end of an all-New York/Jersey lineup on the night. At 9, new “Made in Jersey” stars Janet Montgomery as a young working class chick from Jersey who lands a job as a prestigious New York law firm with the help of a sassy secretary, a sexy older sister and a big Italian family. No cliché left behind on this one!


Janet Montgomery as Martina Garretti in “Made in Jersey.” (David Lee)
After being disappointed when two chick-led dramas — “The Good Wife” and “Unforgettable” — tried, but failed, on Tuesdays at 10 to capitalize on the ratings leadin provided by two high-testosterone “NCIS” dramas, CBS has finally wised up and put a guy’s-guy show at 10 p.m. on the night.

The 60’s-set “Vegas” stars Dennis Quaid as the WWII vet rancher/mayor of Las Vegas who tangles with ruthless Chicago mobster Michael Chiklis for control of Las Vegas. “Vegas” will get the guy audience, while NBC’s “Parenthood” and ABC’s “Private Practice” squabble over the chicks, Kahl forecast.

Grievously, in the clip of “Vegas” CBS showed to advertisers at Carnegie Hall, Dennis Quaid scowled, sneered, and grimaced, and chewed some scenery, but he only smiled once and it wasn’t The Full-On Quaid. Dennis Quaid has a million-dollar smile. Dennis Quaid’s smile makes Simon Baker’s smile look like the minor leagues. After CBS’s presentation, advertisers came up to Quaid and asked if they could get a photograph “of the smile.”


”Vegas” (Lorey Sebastian - CBS)
Hopefully, CBS will right this wrong before the show’s premiere.

CBS suits seemed particularly jazzed about the 9 p.m. potential for “NCIS: LA” this season, where both ABC and NBC have planted comedy blocks – “The Comedy Sig-Alert” on the schedule, Kahl joked, adding “We’re the carpool lane at 9.”

“NCIS: LA” star LL Cool J opened CBS’s Carnegie Hall presentation Wednesday afternoon, when he engaged in a little competitive dueting with soprano Danielle de Niese. We’re giving her the win.

Wednesday’s lineup is returning intact: “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds” and “CSI,” which, network programming chief Nina Tassler noted, improved considerably, ratingswise this season, with Ted Danson and Elisabeth Shue added and Marg Helgenberger gone.

TV critics at the breakfast seemed most surprised by the “Men” move out of Monday, and the season-long success of “2 Broke Girls.”

“One of our hallmarks has been, over the years, to make sure you have a strong emotional core to your storytelling,” Tassler explained of “2 Broke Girls.” “Funny is great, but one of the things people talk about with those two characters is they care about each other and we care about them.”

Tassler was speaking of the audience, not of the critics, who have seemed largely united in their dislike for the comedy. Fortunately for CBS, the public does not fall in step with the critics.

CBS chairman Les Moonves kicked off the breakfast, noting that the day before at Upfront Week, ABC late night star Jimmy Kimmel once again delivered to advertisers his annual gag about CBS and its old audience, though CBS will finish this season a close No. 2 to Fox among younger viewers, while ABC is finishing dead with younger viewers last among the major broadcast networks.

“I’m a big fan of Jimmy Kimmel but somebody should tell him ABC is so far behind us in the demo, the joke went away like 10 years ago. He should freshen up his material a little bit,” Moonves said.

Kimmel, of course, delivers this gag every year because CBS, while attracting young viewers, also attracts a huge number of older ones, in part because CBS is the last broadcast network still practicing “broadcasting.” During Wednesday’s breakfast, Tassler said the network makes no apologies for its business model.

“We have one goal, and that is to continue making hit TV shows,” she said.

“There are a lot of messages out there floating around, but we want to make big hit show that a lot of people watch, that create breakout television stars, that create opportunity for CBS… and really engage our audience. That’s our goal and we don’t get confused; we don’t get sidetracked. That’s what we focus on every single year.”

CBS TELEVISION NETWORK

2012-2013 PRIMETIME SCHEDULE

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

MONDAY

8:00-8:30 PM HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER

8:30-9:00 PM PARTNERS (N)

9:00-9:30 PM 2 BROKE GIRLS (NT)

9:30-10:00 PM MIKE & MOLLY

10:00-11:00 PM HAWAII FIVE-0

TUESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM NCIS

9:00-10:00 PM NCIS: LOS ANGELES

10:00-11:00 PM VEGAS (N)

WEDNESDAY

8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR

9:00-10:00 PM CRIMINAL MINDS

10:00-11:00 PM CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION

THURSDAY

8:00-8:30 PM THE BIG BANG THEORY

8:30-9:00 PM TWO AND A HALF MEN (NT)

9:00-10:00 PM PERSON OF INTEREST

10:00-11:00 PM ELEMENTARY (N)

FRIDAY

8:00-9:00 PM CSI: NY (NT)

9:00-10:00 PM MADE IN JERSEY (N)

10:00-11:00 PM BLUE BLOODS

SATURDAY

8:00-9:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY

9:00-10:00 PM CRIMETIME SATURDAY

10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS MYSTERY

SUNDAY

7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES

8:00-9:00 PM THE AMAZING RACE

9:00-10:00 PM THE GOOD WIFE

10:00-11:00 PM THE MENTALIST (NT)

More from Upfront Week:

VIDEO: Check out previews of ABC’s new shows

ABC moves ‘Revenge’ to ‘Desperate’ timeslot and loads up on comedies for fall

VIDEO: Check out previews of Fox’s new shows

Upfront Week 2012: Fox has Britney Spears, Demi Lovato; NBC has a monkey

Upfront Week 2012: Mindy Kaling, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears join Fox; ‘Glee’ moves to Thursday

VIDEO: Check out previews of NBC’s new shows

CBS officially cancels “CSI: Miami”

NBC reveals schedule: ‘Community’ to Friday, ‘The Voice' to launch in fall

CW orders five new shows including ‘Carrie Diaries,’ renews ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Nikita,’ ‘Hart of Dixie’

By  |  08:03 PM ET, 05/16/2012

Tags:  Upfronts, CBS upfronts

 
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