The broadcast networks reveal their schedules for 2017-18 the week of May 15. TV by the Numbers offers help to harried scheduling execs with some suggestions of our own.

The ground rules, once again:

  • The schedule presented here and in future posts is an attempt to be as realistic as possible about what the network needs. It’s less a fantasy lineup and more an educated-guess lineup.
  • Whenever possible, we’ll try to stick to our colleague the Masked Scheduler‘s mantra that putting more than 2 1/2 hours of new material on the schedule invites diminishing returns.
  • Any new shows are based on what, as of posting time, has already been ordered to series or seems most likely to be. Similarly, returning shows are based on what’s already renewed and The Cancel Bear’s predictions for what will come back.

Here, then, is how we would program CBS in the fall if anyone asked (all times ET/PT, new shows in italics):

7 p.m. 7:30 p.m. 8 p.m. 8:30 p.m. 9 p.m. 9:30 p.m. 10 p.m. 10:30 p.m.
Monday (Sept.-Oct.) The Big Bang Theory 9J, 9K & 9L Kevin Can Wait Man with a Plan Scorpion
Monday (starting Oct. 30) Kevin Can Wait Man with a Plan 9J, 9K & 9L Superior Donuts Scorpion
Tuesday NCIS Bull Untitled Navy SEAL drama
Wednesday Survivor Criminal Minds Instinct
Thursday (Sept.-Oct.) Thursday Night Football Pregame Thursday Night Football
Thursday (starting Nov. 2) The Big Bang Theory Young Sheldon Mom Life in Pieces SWAT
Friday MacGyver Hawaii Five-0 Blue Bloods
Saturday Crimetime Saturday Crimetime Saturday 48 Hours
Sunday 60 Minutes NCIS: Los Angeles NCIS: New Orleans (new night) Madam Secretary (new time)


What stays: With a couple of tweaks here and there, the 8 and 9 o’clock hours are pretty stable. “NCIS” spends a 15th consecutive season in its Tuesday home, “Criminal Minds” is back for year 13 on Wednesdays at 9, and “The Big Bang Theory” does its usual brief stint on Mondays before moving back to anchor Thursdays in November. The Friday lineup works fine, so no need to mess with it.

What’s new: We’re using “Big Bang” to help launch two new comedies: “9J, 9K & 9L” (which sorely needs a new title) seems like a good fit with the multi-camera family comedy lineup on Mondays, so it gets the 8:30 spot initially before moving back to 9 later in the fall. “Young Sheldon” is a “Big Bang” spinoff, so it gets the 8:30 p.m. Thursday spot after CBS is done with its “Thursday Night Football” schedule.

Three new 10 p.m. dramas will try to shore up what was a problem spot for the network: The Navy SEALs project starring David Boreanaz; “Instinct,” which should match well with “Criminal Minds”; and the action-oriented “SWAT” on Thursdays.

What moves: “NCIS: New Orleans” heads to Sunday nights to team up with “NCIS: Los Angeles,” which in turn moves “Madam Secretary” back to the 10 o’clock spot. It was renewed by virtue of the Third Season Rule, but its ratings are on the decline and moving “New Orleans” to 9 offers a chance for an upgrade.

What else: The Cancel Bear has “2 Broke Girls” as a likely renewal, so it could be held back as a utility player for later in the season. The network will probably also order one other comedy and possibly one additional drama.

More schedule predictions: ABC

Posted by:Rick Porter

Rick Porter has been covering TV since the days when networks sent screeners on VHS, one of which was a teaser for the first season of "American Idol." He's left-handed, makes a very solid grilled cheese and has been editor of TV by the Numbers since October 2015. He lives in Austin.

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