In the network-TV business, this is about as logical as it gets: If you have the most viewers, you need the fewest new shows.
That's the case once again for CBS, the ratings-race-leading U.S. network that unveiled its 2012-13 schedule on Wednesday in New York. The Eye net will introduce only four new series -- three dramas and one comedy -- this fall in a lineup that boasts 19 returning titles, including two of its rookie offerings from 2011-12.
Not returning to CBS's prime-time roster are CSI: Miami, A Gifted Man, Unforgettable, How To Be a Gentleman and mid-season additions Rob and NYC 22.
CBS's Monday-night schedule remains a comedy-driven affair, with How I Met Your Mother, 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly all returning. The new sitcom Partners, which follows two lifelong friends and business partners (played by David Krumholtz and Michael Urie) whose relationship is tested when one of them announces he's getting married, joins the comedy block, which is followed by returning drama Hawaii Five-0.
On Tuesday, CBS's ratings-dominating tandem of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles is joined by newcomer Vegas, which is NOT a remake of the late-'70s Aaron-Spelling-produced ABC series (Vega$) that starred Robert Urich, but rather a gritty '60s-era period drama about the early years of Sin City, starring Dennis Quaid as a rancher/sheriff trying to maintain order as mobsters from the east (including one played by Michael Chiklis) try to turn Las Vegas into a gambling mecca.
Wednesday is a status-quo night on CBS, with Survivor, Criminal Minds and C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation all in their familiar slots. Thursday's schedule includes returning shows The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men (which relocates from its long-held Monday slot) and Person of Interest, followed by the new drama Elementary, a time- and geography-shifted spin on the Sherlock Holmes saga that stars Jonny Lee Miller as the great detective -- who, in this re-imagining, has been forced to restart his life in New York after a drug scandal scuttled his London career -- and Lucy Liu as his reluctant crime-solving companion, Dr. Joan Watson.
Friday on CBS will see two familiar dramas -- CSI:NY and Blue Bloods -- wrapped around a new hour-long legal thriller, Made in Jersey, which stars Janet Montgomery as a young lawyer with working-class roots who fights her way to the top of a prestigious Manhattan firm.
CBS, like most of its U.S.-network competitors, continues to use Saturday as a dumping ground for repeats (Crimetime Saturday) and newsmagazines (48 Hours Mystery). The veteran Sunday lineup includes 60 Minutes, The Amazing Race, The Good Wife and The Mentalist, which moves from its familiar Thursday slot.
CBS also has three new titles in the on-deck circle for use as mid-season replacements -- Golden Boy, a drama that takes a looking-back perspective on the career of New York City's youngest-ever police commissioner (Theo James and Chi McBride star), Friend Me, a sitcom about a pair of Indiana-born best buddies trying to fit in with L.A.'s social-media-obsessed twentysomething set, and The Job, a reality-TV series produced by Michael Davies (Who Wants To Be a Millionaire) and Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) in which talented young competitors are given a chance to compete for dream jobs at some of America's most prestigious companies.
Undercover Boss will also return at mid-season.
The U.S. networks' week-long frenzy of upfront ad sales and fall-schedule announcements concludes Thursday with the CW's rollout of new and returning shows.