After Writers' Strike, CBS Names 15 Shows to Come Back; Deggans Explains It All on NPR
(If you're so inclined, check out my appearance on NPR's Tell Me More this morning where I discuss it all. Audio available after noon today.)
CBS has stepped forward with the most detailed initiative yet. The network plans to announce this morning that it will bring a whopping 15 shows back for the end of the season, including How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, CSI: Miami, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, CSI, Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer, Numb3rs, NCIS, Moonlight, Rules of Engagement and Shark.
Somehow, CBS has managed a definitive timetable, saying half-hour comedies are expected to produce nine episodes with new shows returning in mid-March. Hourlong dramas, which take more time to write and produce, are expected back the first week in April, with 5 to 8 episodes finishing the season.
I talked with representatives of most major networks yesterday, and no one expects the TV season to be extended beyond its scheduled end in May. CBS shows such as The Unit and Cane, which had already been scheduled for a break around now to avoid getting hammered by American Idol, will come back next year -- if they come back at all.
ABC was much less detailed than CBS yesterday, saying they hope to bring back their most popular scripted series in mid-April for a run of 4 or 5 new episodes to finish the season. That list would include Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Samantha Who? and Ugly Betty.
Other shows already picked up for next year but not on that list -- basically, their Wednesday night lineup of Dirty Sexy Money, Pushing Daisies and Private Practice -- probably will not return until next season. Womens Murder Club is a show on the bubble, with its survival unsure, and others such as Cavemen and Carpoolers are considered goners.
The CW expects to say goodbye to a major linchpin of its black-centered TV show lineup on Mondays; Girlfriends aired its last original episode this week, and is only expected to return in a retrospective farewell show. Life is Wild, the Africa-based drama, is also effectively canceled.
Many of the remaining scripted shows on the CW have been asked to produce 5 or 6 new episodes, with comedies expected back in mid-March and dramas expected back in mid-April. That list includes Reaper, One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl and Smallville. Supernatural will produce 4 to 5 new episodes. Other shows already have a stockpile of new episodes and are not expected to return to production this year, including Aliens in America (8 episodes left), Everybody Hates Chris (12 episodes left) and The Game (9 episodes left).
I haven't yet heard from NBC and Fox, but the networks seem acutely aware of fans' need for new episodes of their favorite shows and are prepared to work feverishly to make it happen. So suck it up America -- a month or two more of reality and reruns and its nothing but original masterpieces on TV until the season's end.