CBS Renews 18 Shows, Leaving Several Shows On The Bubble

The big news over at CBS is the early renewal of 18 shows including freshman entries like TWO BROKE GIRLS and PERSON OF INTEREST. But, the bad news is that several shows were not immediately renewed, meaning that cancellation may be highly likely for CSI:NY, CSI:MIAMI, UNFORGETTABLE, ROB and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. UNFORGETTABLE looks to be almost certain to be lost. And likely, one or both CSI spin-off shows will be canceled as the CSI franchise starts to ebb away into history. The Friday evening slot for CSI:NY didn’t do the show any favors, and the Sunday night slot for CSI:MIAMI runs against some reasonable competition by a variety of networks, including some cable TV favorites, lowering the overall audience for the show which used to draw big numbers with the strong lead-in from the very popular CBS Monday night comedies like TWO AND A HALF MEN when it was a Monday favorite.

The real shame about both CSI shows is that they are excellent shows with great lead actors. Drawing an actor of the quality of Gary Sinese to doing a network TV show was a major coup for CBS. And David Caruso played his role over at CSI:MIAMI much like some tough Western gunslinger. It would be a real shame to lose either show.

And CBS has a little comedy dilemma on their hands. They have both ROB and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT which they could continue if they wish, interchanging them every so often on the the Thursday night schedule. But, CBS also has a number of pretty good comedy pilots to choose from as well right now. ROB at first performed well, but it’s rating numbers quickly softened, where a repeat episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY ran after a new episode last week outperformed ROB’s numbers significantly. CBS needs some comedy that holds up numbers between the big hits, THE BIG BANG THEORY and PERSON OF INTEREST. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is being given another shot at that tonight, while CBS execs look at what numbers it pulls in.

TWO AND A HALF MEN is in an interesting position. It is probably likely to be renewed based solely on the strong numbers it continues to pull in. Audiences have grown to accept Ashton Kutcher, who became a hasty replacement for the troubled Charlie Sheen. But, negotiations are only in the early stages, and if cast members don’t want to return, or want some new salary contracts, or other sudden thorny issues should develop, this show could face an early end. But likely Chuck Lorre’s great creation continues. TWO AND A HALF MEN has been considered to be the biggest hit comedy of the last decade, and still seems to have plenty of life left in it.

Normally, the networks renew their shows near the end of May Sweeps. But, CBS is doing so well as the top dog network that renewing so many shows early is a big sign that CBS only wants to gently tweak their network and not make any disastrous changes such as NBC did which reduced that network’s numbers down to bargain basement numbers. At one time, NBC had monster Thursday ratings numbers with huge hits like SEINFELD, FRAZER and ER. Today such shows are only a distant memory, with the lowly numbers for the current NBC Thursday crop of shows. CBS has proven that it only wants to make changes for the better, not worse like NBC has repeatedly done.

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