It’s back to basics as CBS restores Monday comedy block
Last season, CBS did the unthinkable: the network axed its Monday night comedy block for three action-adventure series. On a night where Jackie Gleason, Lucille Ball, Gilligan,Amzing A M*A*S*H, Murphy Brown, Raymond, and Charlie Sheen once reigned, CBS was without a regularly scheduled sitcom on the night for the first time since 1949. In fact, NO comedy was scheduled on Monday on any network.
Next season, the laughs are back on CBS Mondays – with a vengeance.
The network revealed its 2016-17 schedule, and it showed some major changes on many nights of the week. CBS brings Kevin James back to its airwaves after a decade, and also adding Matt LeBlanc to its roster of stars. CBS is also rebooting former 1985-92 ABC drama McGyver.
Gone from the schedule is Supergirl – the Monday drama is now moving to The CW on the same night. Also gone is Rush Hour and Limitless, although there is a possibility the program may be picked up by another network. The Good Wife also ended its run but a spin-off of the show starring Christine Baranski is being picked up by CBS All-Access (more on All Access later.)
Also not on the fall schedule is The Amazing Race and Undercover Boss; both reality/competition series are slated to return in midseason.
CBS’ upfront presentation began with a performance based on the musical Hamilton by late-night host James Corden, followed by head honcho Les Moonves, who announced the Good Wife spin-off and new Star Trek series for CBS All Access. Kevin James, LeBlanc, and the cast of The Big Bang Theory were on stage, followed by Stephen Colbert. CBS’ newest late night talker didn’t waste time taking on Donald Trump (“The Amazing Racist”) and noted “2016 is a big year for comedy. And if trump wins, 2017 will be an even bigger year for tragedy.” Great Outdoors star Joel McHale made zingers of his own, regarding his time at NBC: “I can’t believe I am part of the CBS family now. It seem like only yesterday I would be [looking at] the ratings on ‘Community’ and the rest of afternoon [sending] death threats to the cast of The Big Bang Theory” and “It’s wonderful to be on a broadcast network that will advertise the show that I’m in.” Easy, Truth Squad Tad.
The 2016-17 schedule: Comedy is back on Monday with The Big Bang Theory paired up with Kevin Can Wait for the first few weeks of the season, then moves to Bang’s slot when Sheldon & Co. head back to Thursday in late October. When that happens, Man With a Plan with Matt LeBlanc debuts. The night is rounded out with 2 Broke Girls, Odd Couple, and Scorpion.
Tuesdays has NCIS, new series Bull, and NCIS: New Orleans in a new time period. Wednesdays feature Survivor with a Millennial vs. Gen X theme, followed by Criminal Minds and Code Block.
Thursdays has football for the first few weeks of the season, then is occupied by Big Bang, McHale’s new Great Outdoors sitcom, then Mom and Life in Pieces, and closing out with new drama Pure Genius.
Fridays has MacGyver, followed by the returning Hawaii Five-O and Blue Bloods. Sundays has 60 Minutes, with new time periods for NCIS: Los Angeles and Madam Secretary. Elementary closes out the evening.
To see the complete 2016-17 season CBS lineup with midseason entries, click here.
There is no doubt CBS wants to keep its position at the top of the throne – and what didn’t fit with the network is out. Restoring comedies on Mondays is a great move – never mess with tradition, even if the comedies aren’t as memorable as the classics I mentioned earlier. CBS’ Dramas are likely to continue to draw viewers, although its not the 18-49 crowd.
One notable trend missing from CBS this season they tried last year – superhero shows and single-cam comedies. No new programming from either genre is on CBS’ fall schedule with Life In Pieces the only single-cam left. Pieces and Odd Couple are creative weak links on the schedule, for sure – though critics will likely point out a few more.
As for McGyver… if Patty and Selma are happy with the revival, then there should be no problem – unless Sideshow Bob sneaks in and turns on the gas after the show.
Other parts of the schedule have been tweaked with several new shows helming new time periods – so, there is no reason to believe CBS would falter this season. Despite the ribbing from rivals, they are still “America’s Most Watched Network”. Although critics sometime wish it was another network .