Good scheduling is all about building a strong house so that when you add new furniture or rearrange things, it has that lived-in, comfortable feeling to it. CBS is the best at it.
First of all, they are broadcasters. They still believe in episodic television, multi-camera comedies (with a few single-camera shows peppered in) and the old 22- to 24-episode model, so there is more consistency to their schedule.
They have never displayed cable envy and probably smirk when they hear talk of prestige TV.
CBS pretty much does three types of shows and does them very well: procedurals, adult comedies (they leave the family stuff to ABC) and quality reality competition/elimination shows. Historically when CBS strays from these forms, their audience bitch-slaps them back into delivering the shows they come to CBS for.
A few years ago, they added “Thursday Night Football” to their arsenal and did not skip a beat. When they made the NFL deal, Bill Prady, co-creator of “The Big Bang Theory,” called me up and cryptically asked me what I thought about the show moving to another night in the fall. I reassured him that he was in good hands. The Monday night move is now simply part of the “Big Bang” cycle.
Having said all this, CBS announced a schedule that is just another CBS schedule, and I say that with respect.
Sure, they added a few more hours (four and a half) than I like to add, but there is such a sameness to what they put on (again said with respect) that it never feels like they are adding so many new shows to the schedule.
Obviously “Young Sheldon” is being given every chance to succeed. Jim Parsons is such a force so I have my doubts, but whatevs. Don’t know much about the other comedies, but I’m sure they’re CBS comedies. “Wisdom of the Crowd” feels like another high-tech attempt a la “Person of Interest.” If there is one subtle change to their other new dramas, it feels like they are going for more action and a little less cerebral.
The house of CBS appears to be as strong as ever. They have spruced it up a bit, but it all feels very comfortable and very familiar, and for their audience and the advertisers, that’s what it’s all about.
Last but not least, The CW tomorrow.
I’m on the Twitter @maskedscheduler and email is email@example.com.