Sunday, September 15, 2013

CBS TV Fall 2013 Schedule -- The Network Where Crime Definitely Pays

Remember when CBS used to be referred to as "The Tiffany Network"?  Even as they have transitioned into their current programming slate which is a little more than half crime procedurals, CBS has still managed to hang onto a veneer of class, though that's probably just a polite term for the slight musty aroma of the older viewers who are such an important part of the net's demographic.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, though I personally think that the steady diet of victim flayings, serial killers, urban murders, psychos and sickos isn't doing a lot of good for the mental outlook of their audience, reflected in a wary populace fearing every knock at the door and determined to "stand their ground" often to horrifying effect.  I wonder if the so-called "Hollywood Liberals" would admit that their bread-and-butter is contributing to creating a society exactly the opposite of what they might prefer?  No matter; it's gold to CBS.
All this means that CBS is doing quite well, replacing very few of their shows because all the crime franchises are thriving.  Two new comedies are up for Monday nights, and Mike and Molly is on hold until mid-season for a return. 

Mondays at 8:30pm brings new situation comedy We Are Men about the bromance between four single men of various ages who all live at a large apartment complex.  The cast is good, including the much-admired and always watchable Tony Shaloub (Monk, Galaxy Quest, Wings, Cars), ditto for Kal Penn (House, the Harold and Kumar movies, political advisor to Pres. Obama), Chris Smith (Paranormal Activity 3, Enough Said), and Jerry O'Connell (Stand By Me, Jerry McGuire, Crossing Jordan, Sliders), with Australian actress Rebecca Breeds as their pretty neighbor young lady. You can probably guess the gist of the show is exploring male bonding of the hopefully humorous kind.  Everybody has written about the fact that O'Connell spends much of the pilot dressed in a Speedo, but it's not winning any critics' hearts.  CBS has given We Are Men a good lead-in and lead-out, but these days that doesn't necessarily mean much.  We Are Men premieres Monday, September 30th at 8:30pm.

The more favorably buzzed-about comedy Mom gets the 9:30p slot out of 2 Broke Girls and is also a Chuck Lorre creation.  Anna Faris (The Scary Movie franchise, The House Bunny, The Dictator, Entourage) is getting lots of love in her starring role as a divorced single mom who's newly sober and struggling to make it through life in Napa Valley.  Back into that new life comes her own dysfunctional recovering alcoholic mother, played by Allison Janney (West Wing, Juno, The Help, American Beauty), and the game is on.  Mom also boasts a good co-starring cast including French Stewart (Third Rock from the Sun, The Middle), Nate Corddry (The Daily Show, Harry's Law, Children's Hospital), Matt Jones (Breaking Bad), Black Garret Rosenthal (New Girl), Sadie Calvano, and Spencer Daniels. The solid 2 Broke Girls lead-in could definitely lead to sampling and intel is that Mom will have the requisite laughs to keep audiences satisfied.  Word is that anything with Faris + Janney onscreen is gold.  Mom premieres Monday, September 23rd at 9:30pm.

New Monday 10pm drama Hostages looks like a first-class CBS drama project all the way.  This limited series has a thriller movie premise -- Presidential physician is reluctantly enlisted in a plot to do away with the Chief Executive -- and a cast to match.  Hostages features Toni Collette (The Sixth Sense, The United States of Tara, Little Miss Sunshine, Muriel's Wedding), Dylan McDermott (The Practice, Olympus Has Fallen, In The Line of Fire, Steel Magnolias, American Horror Story), Tate Donovan (Damages, Argo, Good Night,and Good Luck, Deception), Rhys Coiro (Entourage, A Gifted Man, Person of Interest, 24, Dexter), Billy Brown (Sons of Anarchy, The Following, Dexter, Cloverfield), Sandrine Holt (House of Cards, Rapa Nui), Quinn Shephard (Made in Jersey), Mateus Ward (Weeds)  and Tony Award-winner James Naughton (Chicago on Broadway, The Devil Wears Prada, Damages, Gossip Girl).  Hostages premieres Monday, September 23rd at 10pm. 

In February drama Intelligence will take Hostages' place.  Intelligence stars Josh Holloway (Lost, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) as a cyber-enhanced secret agent.  Meghan Ory (Ruby on Once Upon a Time), Marg Hellenberger (CSI), and Michael Rady (Emily Owens, M.D., The Mentalist, Melrose Place) co-star.  Intelligence will premiere Monday, February 24th at 10pm.

Tuesday and Wednesday bring back-to-back-to-back crime procedurals, as usual.

CBS' Thursday night comedy block adds two new titles, the first at 8:30pm with The Millers.  Comedy veteran Will Arnett (Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Up All Night) stars as a recently divorced grown son news reporter who learns that his own parents are also splitting and his mom is coming to live with him.  Beau Bridges (The Fabulous Baker Boys, Without Warning: The James Brady Story, The Second Civil War, Brothers & Sisters) and Margo Martindale (Emmy winner for Justified, Dexter, Million Dollar Baby) play the parents, with J.B. Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Clear History, Saturday Night Live, Pootie Tang, The Rukus) as Arnett's best friend.  Buzz is clearly positive for Martindale, but less so for producer Greg Garcia (Raising Hope) and his overall vision in the pilot.  Some recasting has ocurred, so maybe the chemistry and laughs will improve.  The Millers premieres Thursday, October 8th at 8:30pm.

Thursday night at 9pm features another new comedy with a particularly solid acting line-up.  The Crazy Ones brings comedy legend Robin Williams (Mork & Mindy, Good Will Hunting, Good Morning, Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Mrs. Doubtfire and so many more) back to TV screens playing the unhinged creative genius who co-runs a big ad agency alongside his by-the-book daughter played by Sarah Michelle Gellar (forever fan favorite for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ringer, I Know What You Did Last Summer).  James Wolk (Bob Benson on Mad Men, Political Animals, Lone Star) co-stars as a charismatic co-worker ad man, Amanda Setton (Gossip Girl, The Mindy Project) is the office manager, and Hamish Linklater (The New Adventures of Old Christine, The Good Wife, The Newsroom, The Future) is their neurotic art director.  Buzz is pretty good on this one, mainly for the laughs inherent in this top-notch cast.  The Crazy Ones premieres Thursday, September 26th at 9pm.  Though the once much-counted-on halo effect -- that hit shows give boosts to those that surround them -- is a bit tarnished these days with viewing not tied to time period at all, it can't be bad for The Crazy Ones to be preceding Two and a Half Men, though I think I'd rather be following The Big Bang Theory, like The Millers. (We'll watch for a switch there especially if The Millers falls short, with Mike and Molly waiting in the wings to come to the rescue of that series or Monday's We Are Men.)

In general, CBS tends to have terrific luck with their dramas; they know their audience and what they like, and go after the same.  Comedies are more of a gamble, but the network's move several years ago to establish a Thursday comedy night payed off big.  Now they can incubate comedy on two evenings, and they're taking advantage of it.  We'll see if the four new comedies this year are up to the task.

Next up, the Fox Network!


Jane said...

I'm interested in the Toni Collette drama because I think she's amazing. Also hoping for a Robin Williams comeback for television. He'll do fine if the suits leave him alone. His comedy improve special on HBO a few years back was brilliant. Of course I love the advertising venue. We shall see! Great post for the Tiffany/Black Rock network Lisa! :)

Suzi said...

I see lots of good actors going to television because the films released from the movie studios are so abysmal now. Good for home viewers; bad for the film industry.