Comedy is coming back to CBS.
A year after the network downsized to just two total hours of sitcoms in the fall – and went without comedies on Mondays for the first time since the earliest days of television – the network is doubling up its sitcom presence, with four-comedy blocs on both Mondays and Thursdays (once the network's NFL commitment is done) in the fall. The new Monday bloc will be filled with recognizable faces, including Kevin James and Matt LeBlanc (reuniting on the night with Matthew Perry, whose Odd Couple was renewed), while Joel McHale's The Great Indoors is the one new Thursday comedy.
The network is, like everyone else in the network TV business, also loading up on recognizable brands. As new CBS entertainment president Glenn Geller put it about the MacGyver remake – which is undergoing significant retooling from the original pilot episode – “When you have an IP like MacGyver, you want to put it on the air.”
The schedule, night-by-night:
MONDAY: Like last year, CBS is starting Big Bang Theory out here for a few weeks until the Thursday football package is done. It'll be used to launch Kevin Can Wait, with Kevin James, whose King of Queens originated on CBS Mondays. Once Big Bang returns to Thursday, Kevin slides to 8, leading into LeBlanc in Man with a Plan, then Two Broke Girls, Odd Couple, and a relocated Scorpion.
TUESDAY: Michael Weatherly has left NCIS, but not CBS Tuesdays, and will play a young version of Dr. Phil (from his days as a criminal trial consultant) in Bull, which will air at 9 in between NCIS Coke Classic and NCIS: New Orleans.
WEDNESDAY: Status quo: Survivor, Criminal Minds, and the somewhat surprising return of Code Black, which CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl defended based on its consistent ratings throughout the season.
THURSDAY: Football for the early weeks of the season, then Big Bang, Great Outdoors, Mom, Life in Pieces, and new drama Pure Genius from Parenthood and Friday Night Lights boss Jason Katims.
FRIDAY: The network's nostalgia night, with that MacGyver reboot, Hawaii Five-O, and Blue Bloods.
SATURDAY: Crime drama repeats and 48 Hours.
SUNDAY: With Good Wife finished, the night reshuffles slightly, with 60 Minutes into NCIS: Los Angeles into Madam Secretary into Elementary, and all of them debuting at 17 minutes past the hour most weeks thanks to football overruns.
Other odds and ends from CBS' upfront press breakfast (aka Lox with Les):
* Limitless won't be returning to CBS, but Geller said their sister studio is shopping it to other potential buyers.
* Geller flatly denied a report that their adult Nancy Drew pilot with Sarah Shahi was rejected because it was “too female.” “That's not true,” he insisted. “We chose the best pilots.” (Or, at least, the best pilots plus MacGyver.)
* Geller on the decision to cancel Supergirl and let it move to the CW: “I think it found the right home. It's win-win for us. We co-own the CW.” He said the disappointing Supergirl ratings won't make them give up on developing superhero titles at CBS.