What Does 'The Mentalist' At 10pm Sunday & 'The Good Wife' At 9pm Tell Us?

Categories: 1-Featured,Broadcast TV

Written By

May 16th, 2012

The typical amount of carping from fans of The Mentalist about its announced move away from the Thursday 10pm timeslot, but if you figure that CBS's two best timeslots to launch a new drama are 10pm Tuesday and 10pm Thursday, moving The Mentalist makes complete sense.

But why move it to Sunday at 10pm instead of Sunday at 9pm (an hour with more people viewing TV, and where the best rated shows of the night typically slot)?

Two possibilities:

1. CBS puts an absolute premium on making as few changes to their schedule as possible. Likely a factor, but they did make other moves (CSI:NY to 8pm) that weren't essential.

2. CBS doesn't own The Mentalist (Warner Brothers does), and they do own The Good Wife, and still haven't been able to sell it into syndication, and they're going to do everything in their power to give it the best ratings they possibly can as they try and get it sold, current ratings consequences be damned.

I think it was probably 10% reason 1 and 90% reason 2.

  • MoHasanie

    So, CBS Sundays will continue to suffer with TGW. I feel bad for TGW fans, since there is usually a football overrun.

  • Bruce Carter

    It tells me that they are trying to kill both – especially The Mentalist. Delays by sporting events killed CSI Miami, and they will kill the Mentalist as well.

  • pete5125

    CBS is known as the procedural net, so any hour drama that they can make that is not that, makes it where CBS can say but we also have The Good Wife.

    I think we are forgetting that “Desperate Housewives” ended this season and CBS may believe that they can gain some former DH viewers, plus you have to give them credit the night is very male heavy w/ Fox animation and football on NBC, other than, Undercover Boss what else would work, they tried comedies and launching new dramas, the only success they have had are well established dramas that they let live out their last couple seasons then cancel them while they are still getting good numbers but not bug enough for CBS (Cold Case, CSI:Miami)

    If they want to fix Sundays they need to do like Fox, put a show at 7 that can be condensed to 30 or 15 minutes to cover football overrun, start 60 Minutes at 8PM, Amazing Race (save for spring)

    Also CBS is a machine when it comes to syndication The Good Wife will find a home my guess Hallmark but could go lifetime or TNT easily

  • Jose

    The Good Wife is one of the best drama for not saying the best on network television right now Thats what CBS see in that show and off course like you guys said CBS own the show but the quality of the show is amazing so Shut up haters!!! :)

  • Mike

    @phshbone, First, CBS doesn’t set the football start times, the NFL does. Also the problem isn’t the 1st game, it’s the late game that causes the problems. The overrun problem only occurs when CBS has the double header or late game only (i.e. 4:00 ET game). This coupled with their insistence on showing 60 minutes in it’s entirety instead of joining it in progress.

    In the fall I extend my CBS timers to run long (90 minutes) to ensure that I get everything.

  • joel

    It means CBS holds The Mentalist in the same regard that they held CSI: Miami in.

  • carole

    Well, I’ll watch The mentalist at 10pm. Won’t be able to see it when football runs over. And CBS doesn’t show anything but clips on their web page. It’s not on Demand tv either. I hope that changes.

  • Sports Preemption

    @ phshbone

    Unless you live on the west coast with a team in the AFC market, CBS shouldn’t really be pushing back it’s schedule every week. All 1 oclock and 4:15 eastern games start at roughly the same time, and CBS can’t arbitrarily push back it’s game just because of what it airs later.. and probably wouldn’t even want to with the ratings football pulls. Fox gets around it by making their 7oclock show expendable, but CBS has been doing the pushback thing for as long as I’ve been watching sports, which is like 20 years. So no, football can’t start earlier. Sorry. It’s scheduling has been set in stone for years and nobody wants it to change. And there’s no way they’re going to shorten 60 minutes.

    You don’t change sports. Sports preempts you. That’s the way of life.

    C’mon, you should know this. Live compelling reality television always gets the nod in live watching over scripted television. And if that live television happens to run a bit long… so be it.

  • Sports Preemption

    Bah, I just remembered that if you live on the west coast, you don’t even have to worry about the pushback because it never goes from football into 60 minutes. So Mike is more right than I am, it really only happens on CBS late game days.

    Mike and pete5125 get it. CBS won’t put a half hour show at 7, won’t preempt 60 minutes, and can’t change football scheduling, and trust me, they don’t want to give up doubleheaders and late games just to cater to their nighttime schedule. So it is what it is, and always has been for my lifetime.

  • tvfreak

    Wait, I just realized this – I can’t speak for other cable or satellite companies, but U-verse lets you set how long you want to record the show – as much as two hours after the timeslot ends. Hopefully I can use this to get The Mentalist to record. Then again, I live on the West Coast, so probably I wouldn’t get as many preemptions…any answers?

  • tvfreak

    @Sports Preemption: Okay, you answered my question. Thanks! :D

  • Bee

    I don’t want to see the wife’s old face anymore.

  • Bee

    Tgw should go out the timelist.

  • wn

    It tells me that I will refuse to watch “Elementary’ on Thursdays.

  • Cath

    On the other hand when that Sherlock Holmes series tanks or the thing they are putting on after the NCISs (Vegas type show again?) they could move The Mentalist.

    Why CBS can’t move 60 Minutes to the later spot for the Eastern and Central time zones on the days of huge overruns is a mystery. Or skip it altogether. This past football season had Sundays that were almost or were about an hour over.

  • Lane

    I think the fall averages will be something like

    OUAT – 2.8
    AR – 2.4

    Revenge – 2.1
    TGW – 1.8

    666 – 1.9
    TM – 2.2

  • Me

    I go with option 2 personally..

  • AC56

    I agree with the earlier comment – football places any CBS show that begins at 10pm EST in a very vulnerable spot. If CBS does respect their viewers, they would air a truncated version of “60 Minutes” to fit the schedule. “The Mentalist” is an extremely enjoyable show that many of its fans will miss from September to January thanks to the NFL.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “On the other hand when that Sherlock Holmes series tanks or the thing they are putting on after the NCISs (Vegas type show again?) they could move The Mentalist.”

    That’s unlikely. Based on recent year’s practice, they’ll either move in the other drama they ordered (Golden Boy), or just ride the low ratings.

    For Thursday at 10 they’re more likely to move in the other drama if it’s any good, for Tuesday they may just ride the low ratings like they did with Unforgettable. Friday at 9, if Made in Jersey bombs, they’d probably just move it to 8pm and ride it out until March like A Gifted Man.

  • SJ


    Waaaay low-balling it for ABC.

    Once – 3.5-3.7
    Revenge – 3.6-3.8
    666 Park Ave – 2.5-2.7

    Yeah, it’s likely option number 2. I think both will be gone after this season. CBS was patient with CSI: Miami in that time slot. The WB-produced Mentalist won’t get a lot of leeway. Then I’m guessing NCIS: LA and Hawaii 5-0 move there next season if the new Tue and Thu 10pm dramas work out.

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