At the end of Vulture’s analysis of CBS’ 2012-13 schedule, there was a really interesting summary of all of the changes/lack of changes of each network’s schedule that basically comes down to the fact that the nets with the fewest changes (CBS, FOX) are the most stable and therefore most desirable for advertisers. It’s a really interesting analysis so I’m just gonna go ahead and quote the full paragraph:
Veteran network programmers say one of the best predictors of how a net will do in the year ahead is to take a look at how stable its lineup is: Usually, more changes to scripted programming hours means more chaos, more failure, and lower ratings. According to the calculations of one network exec who goes by the Twitter handle of @maskedscheduler, NBC is taking a lot of chances next season: 40 percent of the hours in its scripted lineup consists of all-new shows, and when you count old shows in new time slots, the disruption rate leaps to a whopping 70 percent. ABC, with exactly half of its scripted hours in flux, is also making a high number of programming plays; Fox, with 40 percent new or changed, is much more stable. It should come as no surprise that CBS is the network maintaining the most stability: 22 percent of its scripted hours (three dramas, one comedy) are brand-new, while a mere 16 percent of its veteran shows are moving time slots, resulting in just 38 percent of the lineup in transition. For those of us who analyze TV schedules, the CBS and Fox lineups might seem a little bit sleepy. For those execs who live or die based on how well these adjustments perform in the ratings, another word is probably more appropriate: smart. [Vulture]
My general thoughts about CBS (besides boring, boring and a little more boring):
#1 All of their new shows actually look like things I will watch and enjoy. Partners might grate after a while, but I’m definitely going to give it a shot. And while Elementary is a blatant rip off of the BBC’s Sherlock (modernizing the Sherlock Holmes tales), I like the twist of a female Watson and I’ve always found Jonny Lee Miller extremely watchable.
#2 Their attempt at creating a Thursday comedy block feels a little weak. I know that they’ve had trouble using The Big Bang Theory as a launching pad for new series, but 2 and a Half Men just feels so old and used up. It feels the opposite of fresh. I know it has a big audience though and that the hope is to bring more eyeballs to Person of Interest (which I didn’t watch because of Thursday conflicts and the fact that it’s not available On Demand – what’s up with that?) but part of CBS’ curse is that is seen as an extremely old, un-hip network and this move doesn’t feel edgy or rebellious or young at all. It definitely detracts from the network’s image in my opinion.
#3 I think it’s possible that CBS will actually have a successful Friday night. I watch both CSI: NY and Blue Bloods (well, I DVR them) and while I’m not sure how good a match the more lighthearted looking Made in Jersey will be, the night as a whole seems to have potential to take off. Maybe that will encourage other nets to get back into programming Fridays with scripted fare.