CBS Unveils Fall 2023 Schedule: Survivor and The Amazing Race Get Supersized; CSI: Vegas Delayed Until After Football
CBS is supersizing two of its signature reality franchises: “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” will permanently expand to 90-minute episodes next season, the network announced Thursday morning as it unveiled its 2023-2024 TV lineup.
The Eye network went first with its fall plans, but there’s a caveat to it all: The writers strike means it’s very likely that primetime won’t look at all like this come September. And indeed, CBS already has contingency plans in place, including several unscripted series waiting in the wings.
But for now, CBS will head into fall with a primetime schedule that looks nearly identical to its current one. The Wednesday switch to just “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race,” for example, simply takes the night’s current 10 p.m. inhabitant, the canceled “True Lies,” out of the equation. Last fall, CBS opened the season with three reality shows on the night: “Survivor,” “The Real Love Boat” and “The Amazing Race,” so an all-reality Wednesday is not uncommon. (Nor are expanded 90-minute editions of “Survivor” or “The Amazing Race,” but until now those were reserved for special moments, like premieres and finales.)
Among other changes, the new drama “Elsbeth,” starring Carrie Preston and based on her “The Good Wife”/”The Good Fight” character, will air on Thursdays at 10 p.m., behind returning comedies “Young Sheldon” and “Ghosts,” as well as comedic drama “So Help Me Todd.”
That shifts current Thursday 10 p.m. series “CSI: Vegas” to Sundays at 10 p.m., but with a twist. Because CBS frequently faces Sunday night NFL football overruns, sometimes pushing the last show of the night deep into the 11 p.m. local news hour, this fall the Eye will air repeats (or nothing at all, if the game goes super late) in the 10 p.m. slot. “CSI: Vegas” will return when football is mostly over.
On the rest of the night, CBS has made it 1988 again, through science or magic. That’s because the night will see the pairing of the Eye’s “Matlock” and “The Equalizer” revivals back-to-back. “Matlock,” starring Kathy Bates in the role originally made famous by Andy Griffith, is brand new and will take advantage of being sandwiched between “60 Minutes” and Queen Latifah’s “The Equalizer.”
“The Equalizer” moves to 9 p.m. in that scenario, bumping the canceled “East New York,” while current 10 p.m. series “NCIS: Los Angeles” is retiring.
Thanks to the last-minute dealmaking that saved “S.W.A.T.” for a final season and sent “East New York” into the East River, that’s it for the scheduling changes. Monday remains the same with “The Neighborhood,” “Bob Hearts Abishola,” “NCIS” and “NCIS Hawai’i.” Tuesday continues to be all Dick Wolf all the time with “FBI,” “FBI: International” and “FBI: Most Wanted.” And then Friday keeps that “S.W.A.T.”/”Fire Country”/”Blue Bloods” first responders vibe going for now.
Waiting in the wings: New comedy “Poppa’s House,” starring Damon Wayans and Damon Wayans Jr. in a multi-generational family laffer. And then there’s “Tracker,” which will get the plum post-Super Bowl time slot on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, immediately after the big game. After that, we’ll see where the Justin Hartley series might land.
Because again, this year’s network upfronts announcements are pretty much just what’s on paper. The reality of it all will depend on a lot of things, including how long the strike lasts.
Every network has its own contingency plans; at CBS, that could include a mix of repeats (procedurals like “NCIS” still do well in reruns, just ask Netflix), as well as “new to you” shows from CBS Studios that have previously aired on Paramount+ (“Star Trek” night, anyone?), international acquisitions and unscripted fare.
In the reality department, CBS has a lot on the shelf that it may bring out this fall should the scripted shows not be ready. That includes new seasons of “Tough as Nails” and “Lingo,” as well as primetime editions of “The Price is Right” and “Let’s Make a Deal.” Also ordered: “Buddy Games” and “Lotería Loca.” CBS also has the “Big Brother” machine.
This reps the first schedule unveil for new CBS Entertainment president Amy Reisenbach, who took over the division last fall. And it’s a bit bittersweet: For the first time in decades, CBS (and parent Paramount Global) opted not to reveal its schedule during upfronts week at Carnegie Hall in New York. Instead, the plan was to celebrate at a Los Angeles party this week — until those plans were postponed due to the strike.
Nonetheless, Reisenbach had a strong message for advertisers: CBS’ stability. “Along with our outstanding team at the network, I am incredibly excited to introduce four new series with big-name talent portraying distinct, bold, engaging characters,” she said in a statement. “These new shows from marquee auspices capture everything our viewers love about a CBS series – unique personalities, suspenseful drama, intrigue, high stakes, and relatable laugh-out-loud comedy with heart and humor. The new additions to our lineup are a stellar complement to our winning slate of returning series and we are confident they will resonate with our viewers on broadcast and streaming platforms.”
CBS is touting its 15th consecutive season as the No. 1 network in viewers, which it noted ties its previous streak between 1955 and 1970. Per its research, through April 30 the network is averaging 5.97 million viewers, in front of NBC’s 5.39 million.
Here is CBS’ fall 2023 schedule:
8 p.m. “The Neighborhood”
8:30 p.m. “Bob Hearts Abishola”
9 p.m. “NCIS”
10 p.m. “NCIS Hawai’i”
8 p.m. “FBI”
9 p.m. “FBI: International”
10 p.m. “FBI: Most Wanted”
8 p.m. “Survivor”
9:30 p.m. “The Amazing Race”
8 p.m. “Young Sheldon”
8:30 p.m. “Ghosts”
9 p.m. “So Help Me Todd”
10 p.m. “Elsbeth” (NEW DRAMA)
8 p.m. “S.W.A.T.”
9 p.m. “Fire Country”
10 p.m. “Blue Bloods”
8 p.m. Repeats
9 p.m. Repeats
10 p.m. “48 Hours”
7 p.m. “60 Minutes”
8 p.m. “Matlock” (NEW DRAMA)
9 p.m. “The Equalizer”
10 p.m. Repeats/ “CSI: Vegas” (after football)
And here is a first look at the trailers for new fall series “Elsbeth” and “Matlock”:
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