CBS shakes ’em up in 2010-11

The most aggressive moves front the upfront didn’t come from the three other major networks – it came from the front runner, CBS.

CBS unveiled its 2010-11 lineup Wednesday in front of advertisers in New York City, and it came with some surprises: the biggest one of them all is the move of hot comedy The Big Bang Theory to Thursday nights to lead off prime-time.

The laugh-a-second comedy leaves its cushy Monday night slot in between Two And A Half Men (which is coming back after all, thanks to Charlie Sheen’s contract renewal) and CSI: Miami and leads off a night where CBS had shared dominance with ABC over the years. Big Bang’s move bumps Survivor out of the time period, which has occupied the slot since February 2001. Following Big Bang on Thursday is a new sitcom tentatively titled **** My Dad Says starring William Shatner, a sitcom created from a twitter page (I’m not making this up!)

This marks the first time in 45 years that CBS has opened Thursdays with a sitcom. In the past, this time slot has been occupied by dramas such as The Waltons, Magnum P.I., and Top Cops.

Other new fare on CBS this fall include a new Chuck Lorre comedy titled Mike & Molly; The Defenders, a legal drama not to be confused with the 1960’s version of the same name (which also ran on CBS); the anticipated revival of Hawaii Five-O; and Tom Selleck returning to the network fold with Blue Bloods.

In response to ratings declines this year, two CSI spinoffs are getting new nights: Miami goes from Monday to Sunday while New York moves from Wednesday to Friday.

To make room for the new shows, seven shows were canceled by CBS on Tuesday, including Numbe3rs, Cold Case, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Gary Unmarried, Ghost Whisperer, Accidentally on Purpose, and just-introduced Miami Medical.

Thought: Wow, now that’s what I call aggressive. Hats off to The Church of Tisch for shaking up their schedule – as CBS execs point out, if they didn’t make changes, their ratings would decline. Survivor has done well on Wednesday before (when it aired due to the NCAA Basketball tournament pre-empting it on Thursdays) so its audience will find it. While Big Bang will likely take a hit on Thursdays, it should be fine – keep in mind this is what first happened to The Simpsons in its second season when it moved from Sundays and thrived on Thursdays for four years, knocking out long-time time period champ The Cosby Show in the process.

It remains to be seen if the two CSI spin-offs will thrive in their new nights, but the moves could extend their shelf lives a few years.

As for the new shows…. as much as yours truly hates remakes, I’m behind Hawaii Five-O – as long as they stay true to the original and not make it into another procedural. But maybe they should have remade The Defenders as well… this “comedic drama”, or whatever the hell that means – with their talentless leads – hopefully gets nuked as fast as Viva Laughlin did. In the sitcom department, Mike & Molly from Chuck Lorre doesn’t look to be a Dharma & Greg clone (one of his earlier series) – and that’s a good thing – but will this Chicago-based sitcom about an overweight couple work? This is different, that’s for sure…

William Shatner’s new show – which is tentatively called – **** My Dad Says – you fill in the blank – is based on a Twitter page? My gosh, where will they come up with these sitcom ideas? Looking at the synopsis, this looks nothing more than Sanford & Son – only whiter and obviously more middle-class. Here’s a sampling of the stuff Shat will say: “Elizabeth, I’m  coming to join you, honey!… you big dummy.” Don’t be surprised if there’s a red truck in front of the house and Aunt Esther shows up once in a while to hit Shatner in the head with her purse. But hey… this could be a fun show to watch, even if the critics say otherwise.

CBS prides itself as being “America’s Most Watched Network”. There’s no reason for the slogan to change this upcoming season.

To read CBS’ press release for its’ new fall schedule, click here.