CBS, or, as it likes to call itself, "America's Most-Watched Network," is already holding a strong hand as the 2012-13 TV season draws to a close. On Wednesday, the network revealed some subtle but significant moves to improve its advantage at its Upfront Presentation to advertisers at Carnegie Hall in New York — an annual ceremony that this year saw LL Cool J rapping with opera singer Danielle de Niese and New York Giants QB Eli Manning brandishing the Lombardi Trophy. (CBS carries the Super Bowl next season.)
Back to the schedule: Through judicious addition (three new dramas and a sitcom), subtraction (the cancellation of CSI: Miami, NYC 22, Unforgettable, Rob and A Gifted Man), and some deft switching around (reconfiguring its comedy blocs on Monday and Thursday), CBS has tightened its lineup while, for the most part, maintaining stability. It returns a hefty 19 series in prime time.
At some point the network will have to do something about its aging reality franchises — Survivor and The Amazing Race — but it has pushed that decision down the road for at least another year. There are really only two curiosities that arise from Wednesday's announcement.
First, The Mentalist has been shifted to 10 p.m. on Sunday nights, where it will follow The Good Wife. That seems a discordant pairing. Second, the network declared that Rules of Engagement may yet return. Why? Has this sad and pathetic sitcom not suffered enough?
Here are descriptions of the new shows:
In Partners, David (Numb3rs) Krumholtz and Michael (Ugly Betty) Urie have been best friends and colleagues forever. But their epoxied bond is challenged big time when Krumholtz gets engaged to Sophia (One Tree Hill) Bush and Urie gets a serious boyfriend, Brandon (Superman Returns) Routh. The sitcom, from the makers of Will & Grace, carries the seal of quality: James Burrows directed the pilot.
Vegas is set in 1960 in a little frontier town you may have heard tell of. Dennis (Footloose) Quaid is a local rancher with deep roots in the valley. He's pressed into service as the sheriff when corruption and violence follow gambling into town. His nemesis: Michael (The Shield) Chiklis. Luckily Quaid has his brother, Jason O'Mara, and son, Taylor Handley, as deputies. Carrie-Anne Moss, Sunny Mabrey and James Russo costar in this drama, based on a true story.
Forget Scotland Yard. In Elementary, Sherlock Holmes, played by Jonny Lee (Eli Stone) Miller, is consulting with the present-day NYPD. The chap's got some serious chemical dependency issues. Now fresh out of rehab, he's been exiled from London to Manhattan and assigned a sharp-eyed addiction counselor ("sober companion") to keep watch over him. That would be Lucy (Southland) Liu, or Dr. Joan Watson to you. Aidan Quinn and Kristen Bush costar.
Made in Jersey stars Janet (Black Swan) Montgomery as a rough-hewn Garden Stater with a law degree and a big Italian family straight out of Jerseylicious. She goes to work for a slick and cutthroat corporate law firm in Manhattan. Can her instincts and gritty experience allow her to compete with Ivy Leaguers? Kyle MacLachlan, Erin Cummings and Toni Trucks costar.
Contact David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_tv. Read his blog, "Dave on Demand," at www.philly.com/dod.
New shows in bold
8:00, How I Met Your Mother 8:30, Partners 9:00, 2 Broke Girls 9:30, Mike & Molly 10:00, Hawaii Five-O
8:00, NCIS 9:00, NCIS: Los Angeles 10:00 Vegas
8:00, Survivor 9:00, Criminal Minds 10:00, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
8:00, The Big Bang Theory 8:30, Two and a Half Men 9:00, Person of Interest 10:00, Elementary
8:00, CSI: NY 9:00, Made in Jersey 10:00, Blue Bloods
8:00, Reruns 9:00, Reruns 10:00, 48 Hours Mystery
7:00, 60 Minutes 8:00, The Amazing Race 9:00, The Good Wife 10:00, The Mentalist
Made in Jersey