NEW YORK - CBS is making bolder moves in a season of play-it-safe programming, adding five new fall series as it weathers the loss of TV's top comedy, "The Big Bang Theory," ending Thursday after a 12-season run.
In a presentation to advertisers at Carnegie Hall Wednesday, the network outlines its strategy in its first schedule since chairman Leslie Moonves, who had a firm hand in programming decisions over his 24-year tenure, was ousted last fall over sexual misconduct allegations.
CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl called the schedule "stable but not sleepy" in some ways, and "aggressive but not reckless" in others.
CBS enlists Patricia Heaton, Kyle MacLachlan, Pauley Perrette
Fans loyal to CBS stars won't be disappointed. Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond," "The Middle") looks for "Carol's Second Act," playing a retired teacher and divorced mom who decides to become a doctor at 50. MacLachlan ("Twin Peaks") plays a fellow doctor. Billy Gardell, who co-starred with Melissa McCarthy in the network's 2010-16 comedy "Mike & Molly," is back as a heart-attack victim who falls for his Nigerian nurse in "Bob Hearts Abishola." Marg Helgenberger ("CSI") has a supporting role in "All Rise," a courtroom drama centered on a newly appointed African-American judge (Simone Missick).
In midseason, Edie Falco ("The Sopranos," "Nurse Jackie") plays a former New York cop who becomes L.A.'s first police chief in "Tommy." And fan favorite Perrette, a former star of "NCIS," will be back later with "Broke," as a suburban mom whose estranged sister and her family show up on her doorstep.
CBS loves hit-making producers, like Chuck Lorre
Lorre, the sitcom master behind "Big Bang," "Mom," "Mike & Molly" and "Two and a Half Men," is also behind "Abishola." Michelle and Robert King, who created "The Good Wife" and "The Good Fight," are tackling "Evil," a psychological mystery involving religion and science. Dick Wolf, responsible for NBC's "Law & Order" and "Chicago" franchises, is producing "FBI" and a midseason spinoff, "FBI: Most Wanted," starring Julian McMahon.
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While Tuesday and Sunday lineups remain intact, CBS is grouping five new fall shows on just two nights, planting "Abishola" behind "The Neighborhood" on Mondays, and "The Unicorn" - a new comedy starring Walton Goggins ("Justified") as a desirable widowed dad re-entering the dating pool - on largely retooled Thursdays, behind "Young Sheldon," which inherits the "Big Bang" lead-off spot. "S.W.A.T." moves to Wednesdays, while "Magnum P.I." heads to Fridays.
The ratings scorecard
CBS once again will finish the TV season next week as the most-watched network, averaging 9 million viewers, a figure unchanged from last year amid widespread declines elsewhere. Among adults ages 18 to 49, it's averaging 2 million, down 2%, and tied for second place. But the network has traditionally attracted a significantly older audience than its rivals.
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What's leaving, or coming back later
Aside from "Big Bang," CBS ditched four other comedies: "Life in Pieces," a short-lived revival of "Murphy Brown," and freshmen comedies "Fam" and "Happy Together." But it renewed an astounding 14 dramas, including Save Our Shows favorite "Madam Secretary," which returns for a final 10-episode season.
The "MacGyver" remake Matt LeBlanc comedy "Man with a Plan" and a final season of "Criminal Minds" will join the schedule later.
CBS fall schedule
All times EDT/PDT; new shows in bold; new time slots in italics
Monday; 8, The Neighborhood; 8:30, Bob Hearts Abishola; 9, All Rise; 10, Bull
Tuesday: 8, NCIS; 9, FBI; 10, NCIS: New Orleans
Wednesday: 8, Survivor; 9, SEAL Team; 10, S.W.A.T.
Thursday: 8, Young Sheldon; 8:30, The Unicorn; 9, Mom; 9:30, Carol's Second Act; 10, Evil
Friday: 8, Hawaii Five-0; 9, Magnum P.I.; 10, Blue Bloods
Saturday: 8, Drama repeats; 10, 48 Hours
Sunday: 7, 60 Minutes; 8, God Friended Me; 9, NCIS: Los Angeles; 10, Madam Secretary
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CBS fall schedule: Here's how the network is moving on after 'Big Bang Theory,' Les Moonves