The network that once loved “Raymond” and bowed down to the “King of Queens” is now re-populating its schedule with comedies about middle-aged guys’ guys.
This fall’s new CBS comedy roster includes shows fronted by three established male comedian actors: “Man with a Plan” (Matt LeBlanc), “The Great Indoors” (Joel McHale) and “Kevin Can Wait” (Kevin James).
Add that to CBS’ drama pickups, including remakes of classic titles “MacGyver” and “Training Day,” plus a fictionalized version of daytime favorite Dr. Phil in “Bull,” and it’s clear that CBS is looking to add more testosterone to its lineup.
Next season’s new comedy crop is a change of pace for CBS, which has focused most of its recent sitcoms on either female-centric casts (“Mom,” “2 Broke Girls”) or ensembles (“Life in Pieces”). But now that CBS’ new “The Odd Couple” — starring Matthew Perry — is taking off, the network is banking on another ex-“Friends” star, LeBlanc. (CBS boss Leslie Moonves developed
“Friends” in his previous life as the head of Warner Bros. TV.)
“Community” alum McHale has also been on Moonves’ radar; he was rumored at one point to be in the running for “The Late Late Show” hosting gig (before James Corden). And James, of course, was part of Moonves’ earlier triumph at CBS, when “The King of Queens” was part of a lineup that helped lead the network to its return to ratings glory in the early 2000s. Back in the day, CBS’ comedy formula of pairing schlubby guys with exasperated wives wound up being a ratings winner for the Eye network.
Back then, CBS found success with male-oriented sitcoms like “King of Queens,” “Yes, Dear,” “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Still Standing” and “Two and a Half Men.” But CBS has seen its comedy dominance diminish in recent years, other than the unstoppable “The Big Bang Theory,” Last year, the Eye network even gave up comedy on Mondays — the first time it didn’t air sitcoms on the night since the dawn of network TV in 1948.
The arrival of LeBlanc, McHale and James signal CBS’ desire to regain that position. The departure of “Supergirl,” which is moving to The CW after a year on Monday night, also signals a desire to return to its comedy roots on the night.
“I think they’ve been trying to figure out just what they want to be on Monday night,” says a competing exec. “They’ve been herky-jerky on the night. With ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on ABC and ‘The Voice’ on NBC, the best thing for CBS would be to put a comedy block there.”
Meanwhile, although the network picked up the new drama “Doubt,” starring Katherine Heigl and Laverne Cox, and has several female-fronted dramas returning (including “Madam Secretary” and “Code Black”), the network’s new dramas are also heavy on male leads — including new takes on familiar franchises “MacGyver” and “Training Day.”
And new drama “Bull” is a bit of a CBS corporate smorgasbord: It features an established CBS star (departing “NCIS” member Michael Weatherly); it’s based on the life of Dr. Phil McGraw, whose talk show is distributed by CBS; and it comes from CBS Television Studios.
This schedule is the first for new CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller, who took over the job in January (having previously led the network’s current series department).
Season to date, CBS leads the networks among viewers (11 million) and adults 18-49 (2.3 rating, a tenth of a ratings point above second-place NBC).
Here’s a look at the new CBS fall schedule:
MONDAY: 8 p.m., “The Big Bang Theory”; 8:30 p.m., “Kevin Can Wait” (new comedy); 9 p.m. “2 Broke Girls”; 9:30 p.m., “The Odd Couple”; 10 p.m., “Scorpion” // after Thursday Night Football is over: 8 p.m., “Kevin Can Wait”; 8:30 p.m., “Man with a Plan” (new comedy); 9 p.m. “2 Broke Girls”; 9:30 p.m., “The Odd Couple”; 10 p.m., “Scorpion”
TUESDAY: 8 p.m., “NCIS”; 9 p.m., “Bull” (new drama); 10 p.m., “NCIS: New Orleans”
WEDNESDAY: 8 p.m., “Survivor”; 9 p.m., “Criminal Minds”; 10 p.m., “Code Black”
THURSDAY: 8 p.m., “NFL Thursday Night Football”; after football: 8 p.m., “The Big Bang Theory”; 8:30 p.m., “The Great Indoors” (new comedy); 9 p.m., “Mom”; 9:30 p.m., “Life in Pieces”; 10 p.m., “Pure Genius” (new drama)
FRIDAY: 8 p.m., “MacGyver” (new drama) ; 9 p.m., “Hawaii Five-O”; 10 p.m. “Blue Bloods”
SATURDAY: 8 p.m., repeats; 10 p.m., “48 Hours”
SUNDAY: 7 p.m., “60 Minutes”; 8 p.m., “NCIS: Los Angeles”; 9 p.m., “Madam Secretary”; 10 p.m., “Elementary”
MIDSEASON: “Doubt” (new drama); “Training Day” (new drama); “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders”; “Undercover Boss”; “The Amazing Race.”
Here’s a first look at CBS’ new series roster.
“Bull”: A drama inspired by the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw as the founder of one of the most prolific trial consulting firms of all time. Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull (Michael Weatherly) is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. Cast: Michael Weatherly as “Dr. Jason Bull,” Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Chris Jackson, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio.
Executive producers: Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phillip C. McGraw (Stage 29 Productions), Steven Spielberg (Amblin Television), Justin Falvey & Darryl Frank (Amblin Television), Jay McGraw (Stage 29 Productions), Rodrigo Garcia (also director). Studio: CBS Television Studios.
“Doubt”: A smart, chic, successful defense lawyer at a boutique firm starts to fall for her charismatic client who may or may not be guilty of a brutal crime. Cast: Katherine Heigl, Steven Pasquale, Laverne Cox, Dulé Hill, Dreama Walker, Elliott Gould, Kobi Libii.
Executive producers: Tony Phelan & Joan Rater, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman and Adam Bernstein (also director). Studio: CBS Television Studios.
“MacGyver”: A reimagining of the television series of the same name, following a 20-something MacGyver as he creates a clandestine organization where he uses his knack for solving problems in unconventional ways to help prevent disasters from happening. Cast: Lucas Till as “MacGyver,” George Eads.
Executive producers: Peter Lenkov, Henry Winkler, Lee Zlotoff, James Wan, Michael Clear, David Von Ancken (also director). Studio: CBS Television Studios in association with Lionsgate
“Pure Genius”: A young Silicon Valley tech titan (Augustus Prew) enlists a veteran surgeon with a controversial past in starting a hospital with a cutting edge, “new school” approach to medicine. Cast: Augustus Prew, Dermot Mulroney, Brenda Song, Reshma Shetty, Ward Horton, Aaron Jennings, Odette Annable.
Executive producers: Jason Katims, Michelle Lee, David Semel (also director). Studio: Universal Television in association with CBS Television Studios.
“Training Day”: A crime thriller that begins 15 years after the events of the feature film left, about an idealistic young police officer (Justin Cornwell) who is appointed to an elite squad of the LAPD where he is partnered with a seasoned, morally ambiguous detective (Bill Paxton). Based on the feature film from Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures. Cast: Bill Paxton, Justin Cornwell, Drew Van Acker, Katrina Law, Lex Scott Davis, Julie Benz.
Executive producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Antoine Fuqua, Jonathan Littman , Will Beall, Barry Schindel, Danny Cannon (who also directs). Studio: Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Fuqua Films in association with Warner Bros. Television
“The Great Indoors”: An adventure reporter (Joel McHale) must adapt to the times when he becomes the boss to a group of millennials in the digital department of the magazine. Cast: Joel McHale, Stephen Fry, Chris Williams, Shaun Brown, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Ko, Susannah Fielding.
Executive producers: Mike Gibbons, Chris Harris, Andy Ackerman (who also directs). Studio: CBS Television Studios.
“Kevin Can Wait”: Kevin James stars as a newly retired police officer looking forward to spending carefree, quality time with his wife and three kids, only to discover he faces tougher challenges at home than he ever did on the streets. Cast: Kevin James, Erinn Hayes, Taylor Spreitler, Mary-Charles Jones, James Digiacomo, Ryan Cartwright, Leonard Earl Howze, Lenny Venito and Gary Valentine.
Executive producers: Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, Kevin James, Jeff Sussman and Andy Fickman. Studio: Sony Pictures Television and CBS Television Studios.
“Man with a Plan”: A contractor (Matt LeBlanc) whose wife goes back to work starts spending more time with his kids and discovers the truth every parent eventually realizes: his little angels are maniacs. Cast: Matt LeBlanc, Jessica Chaffin, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Hala Finley, Matthew McCann.
Executive producers: Jeff & Jackie Filgo, Matt LeBlanc, Michael Rotenberg, Troy Zien. Director: James Burrows. Studio: CBS Television Studios.