Our resident script reader Jean-Maxime Renault has read the pilot scripts for almost all of this year's series pickups heading into upfront week. For his detailed thoughts on all of the year's contenders, be sure to check out his pilot script reviews.
Still America’s most-watched network, CBS has renewed the vast majority of its shows for next season, and a slew of new entries are ready to take their chance. The big questions: how can they fit them all, and what exactly does a post-Big Bang Theory CBS look like?
Here’s the score card to date...
NCIS | NCIS: LOS ANGELES | HAWAII FIVE-O | BLUE BLOODS | MOM | MADAM SECRETARY | NCIS: NEW ORLEANS | MACGYVER | MAN WITH A PLAN | YOUNG SHELDON | FBI | GOD FRIENDED ME | MAGNUM, PI | THE NEIGHBORHOOD
FBI: MOST WANTED | EVIL | ALL RISE | TOMMY | CAROL'S SECOND ACT | BOB HEARTS ABISHOLA | THE UNICORN | BROKE
ELEMENTARY | LIFE IN PIECES | FAM | HAPPY TOGETHER | MURPHY BROWN
TO BE DETERMINED
THE CODE | THE RED LINE | INSTINCT
....and here's how CBS's fall schedule would look if I was programming it:
New Chuck Lorre sitcom Bob Hearts Abishola looks like the one that fits best with The Neighborhood as both are diverse, and deal with similar issues. If it's a flop, CBS still has Man With a Plan in their back pocket, poised to return to its old slot. At 9, Magnum, P.I did a pretty meh performance all year long. CBS did renew it early but I don't expect it coming back in the same slot. The night needs some fresh blood and courthouse drama All Rise -- which has an African American lead -- could be an interesting choice. in the name of stability, and because two wildly different legal dramas back-to-back makes sense -- Bull can stay at 10.
There's probably no way FBI: Most Wanted can survive without the mothership as its lead-in. CBS had better plan some more crossovers to make sure viewers stay from 9 to 11. They can count on NCIS to sremain a solid launchpad even though if it's beginning to show its age.
I went back and forth with this and ultimately decided to put Evil, the new show from The Good Wife creators at 10 and not at 9 for two main reasons. First, because it will be a limited first season and that way CBS can slate the final season of Criminal Minds there in the spring. Second, because Evil is quite graphic and as horror-thriller fare, it's hard to picture it in the earlier slot. Yes, this could limit its potential, but let's be real: it's not likely to be a breakout hit, especially on this particular network.
There shouldn't be much suspense here, seeing as CBS has 4 new comedies -- and considering I've already slotted Bob Hearts Abishola on Monday. The show with the biggest star and the biggest potential should be the one using Young Sheldon's lead-in. So here we go with Patricia Heaton and multicam Carol's Second Act. At 9.30, Broke fits better than The Unicorn with Mom. The Pauley Perrette-starrer is about two sisters who hate each other, forced to live together. Yep, that's pretty much the same premise as Mom, but with a sister duo instead of mother-daughter, At 10, S.W.A.T. should stay put.
Moving Magnum, P.I. to Fridays, where it should have been from the start, is the only move that can save it from almost certain doom. CBS was generous renewing it in the first place -- no more special treatment! I think the show could be super-compatible with Hawaii 5-O and since they're both set and shot in Hawaii, perhaps they could do some crossovers, What about MacGyver, you're thinking? Well, seeing as its numbers have been a near-constant disappointment, it shouldn't be prioritized. I'd make it a summer show. Meanwhile, Blue Bloods keeps on winning at 10, albeit quietly.
Time to reunite NCIS:Los Angeles -- which helped give some pulse to Sunday nights -- with its struggling spin-off NCIS: New Orleans. Hopefully, it will do better than Madam Secretary which has only been renewed because it has a lucrative syndication deal. Like they did with Elementary, a late spring launch with a summer run seems likely in order to avoid abysmal in-season numbers. At 8, God Friended Me is far from a success, but since it has been renewed... The Edie Falco-starrer Tommy should be ready to take over come midseason.
Man With A Plan – Used a filler midseason wherever needed
The Unicorn – Used a filler midseason wherever needed
Madam Secretary – Joining the Sunday line-up late spring in NCIS: New Orleans' timeslot
Tommy – Joining the Sunday line-up Spring in God Friended Me's timeslot
Macgyver – Late Spring/Summer run on Fridays
Criminal Minds - Final season back in the Wednesday 10pm slot once Evil is done
We'll have complete coverage of CBS's upfront presentation on Wednesday May 15th. In the meantime, join us in our forums to share your opinion!
Jean-Maxime Renault is a TV addict based in Paris who writes about television and movies on AlloCiné (aka "the French IMDB"). In 2015 he created Season Zero, a website about television development and pilot season, which is now a part of Primetimer.