As they have in previous years, CBS didn’t equivocate with their renewals. They quietly announced late yesterday that they’d renewed practically their entire schedule. The Good Wife, 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly, Person of Interest, NCIS: LA, NCIS, The Mentalist, Elementary, Hawaii Five-0, Blue Bloods, The Amazing Race, Survivor, Undercover Boss, 60 Minutes and 48 Hours were all re-upped for additional years. In fact, there’s only a handful of questions that remain. Vegas has not been renewed, but CBS is moving that to Fridays later this Spring, and if it succeeds in that timeslot, it will be renewed. If it does not, CSI: NY will likely remain in that spot. Criminal Minds hasn’t officially been renewed yet, but it’s not due to suffering ratings. CBS is still negotiating with the cast, and that show is expected to be brought back. Likewise, Two and a Half Men will likely return for another year after negotiations with Ashton Kutcher and Jon Cryer are ironed out.
In fact, the only shows not expected to be renewed are Rules of Engagement and the mid-season replacement Golden Boy. CBS is going to look awfully similar next year to the way it looks right now, and why not? CBS leads all networks in total viewers. The problem is that it’s schedule skews older, and the existing stable of shows — which are getting older — isn’t going to help matters. For our purposes, here’s the problem:
CBS has had an active pilot season. In fact, they’ve greenlit some of the more high-profile pilots. The issue is, there’s barely any spaces available. Unless CBS plans to install several mid-season comedies, which has not been CBS’ reputation, there’s basically only one sitcom spot available. Who does it go to? Greg Garcia left Raising Hope and lured Will Arnett away from the Up All Night sinking ship to develop a sitcom for CBS. Ari Graynor is the lead in the CBS pilot for Bad Teacher, based on the film. Jim Gaffigan also has a semi-autobiographical pilot in development.
Which of those comedies is likely to replace Rules of Engagement? None of them. My money is on Mom, the Chuck Lorre sitcom starring Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Nate Corddry, Matt Jones (Badger from Breaking Bad) and French Stewart. CBS owes half it success to Lorre, so they’re likely to want to appease him. That probably means that Will Arnett’s pilot will not get the greenlight, unless it’s as a mid-season replacement.
The competition isn’t as fierce on the drama side for the one slot that will be vacated by the cancellation of either Vegas or CSI:NY. The leading contenders for that slot are a David E. Kelley dramedy starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, another CBS procedural called Intelligence with Josh Holloway, and Beverly Hills Cop, with Brandon T. Jackson playing the son of Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley character. Shawn Ryan is showrunning that, and my guess is that Cop will ultimately land the greenlight, though Intelligence sounds like a great companion for Persons of Interest should CBS want to shift Elementary to Tuesdays at 10 to shore up that night.