The return of a hard-nosed TV news anchor, a mustache-light version of Magnum P.I. and a dude who receives a "friend request" from God are part of the freshman class coming to CBS in the upcoming 2018-19 season.
CBS executives unveiled the new schedule lineup to reporters Wednesday morning in New York ahead of the network’s upfront presentation to advertisers at Carnegie Hall.
And viewers can expect a healthy dose of new series — five dramas, four comedies — and few big changes to its prime-time lineup.
The 2018-19 schedule stands as the first one incorporating show orders from the network’s entertainment chief Kelly Kahl, who previously served as the scheduling maestro solving each season’s time slot puzzles for CBS.
The new season will see CBS continuing to mine television’s yearbooks for familiar faces and properties to enlist.
A revival of Murphy Brown, from original series creator Diane English and starring Candice Bergen, is coming to Thursday’s comedy block, and a modern retelling of Magnum P.I., with Jay Hernandez in the role of the private investigator made famous by Tom Selleck, is headed to Mondays.
In fact, Mondays will be mostly new blood.
The night will start with newcomer The Neighborhood, a multi-camera fish-out-of-water comedy starring Max Greenfield and Cedric the Entertainer as neighbours, in the 8 p.m. slot, followed by the Damon Wayans Jr.-led comedy Happy Together. Magnum P.I. will take the 9 p.m. hour before returning drama Bull closes the night.
Tuesdays will be anchored by NCIS, which will lead in to the new Dick Wolf drama FBI, about the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the 9 p.m. hour. NCIS: New Orleans will take the 10 p.m. hour.
Murphy Brown, which sees the veteran fictional journalist serving as host of a cable morning show, is the only change hitting Thursdays.
Sundays, meanwhile, see the addition of God Friended Me, a drama from Greg Berlanti, at 8 p.m., followed by NCIS: Los Angeles and Madam Secretary.
On Tuesday, NBC was touting its rescue of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, following its cancellation by Fox last week.
Andy Samberg, the star of the police comedy, trotted onstage to express his excitement with NBC welcoming the series into its fold for a sixth season.
"I got my start on NBC" at Saturday Night Live, Samberg said in a humorous address to the audience of advertisers and media buyers.
"I’ve always considered it home. And five years ago, when NBC passed on Brooklyn Nine-Nine and we went elsewhere, it was hard for me.
"So hard, in fact, that I made sure to call every single NBC exec to tell them to go straight to hell. I even called some junior execs and laid into them too."
Much of NBC’s portion was anchored once again by Late Night host Seth Meyers.
His set took aim at NBC, throwing barbs at the network’s scooping up of Brooklyn Nine-Nine ("It still feels a little bit like NBC is Fox’s deadbeat friend. ‘Hey, are you gonna finish that? Can I have it?’"), the Today show’s Matt Lauer scandal and the takeover of its entire Wednesday slate by Wolf’s Chicago drama franchise. Meyers suggested that NBC stands for "Nothing But Chicago."
Meyers also poked fun at television’s recent penchant for resuscitating shows of yesteryear.
He suggested those in the room spare a thought for "the shows that weren’t renewed, the pilots that weren’t picked up and the shows from the ’90s that weren’t revived."
He quipped, "I mean, if you had a show in the ’90s and your phone didn’t ring this week, you must’ve been heartbroken," he said, later joking that NBC would soon be reviving ALF, except that this time around the furry star is "a climate-change denier."
Mostly, though, the network highlighted its hits. Will & Grace stars Debra Messing and Eric McCormack touted the success of the show’s revival and reminded advertisers that the comedy has been renewed for two more seasons.
And the cast of This Is Us, which continues to be a ratings stalwart for the network, also appeared, accompanied by a prepackaged video discussing the Super Bowl episode of the series that revealed the mystery surrounding patriarch Jack Pearson’s (Milo Ventimiglia) death.
Also featured during the presentation were clips of new shows including Abby’s, a new comedy from Mike Schur (The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and the Amy Poehler-produced comedy I Feel Bad.
Fox also unveiled its fall lineup Monday.
The network, which made its bones more than 30 years ago by putting on bold, edgy programs that targeted a young audience, celebrated the face of the "new Fox" — 64-year-old TV and movie star Tim Allen.
The network’s schedule is its first since its parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced that it would sell its TV and movie production assets to the Walt Disney Co.
If the deal goes through, the Fox network will be more dependent on sports, news and live-event programming.
Allen’s last sitcom, Last Man Standing, which ran for six seasons on ABC but was dropped last year, is returning on Fox this fall, a head-turning choice in the 2018-19 TV schedule.
The multi-camera family comedy series is a break from the quirkier single-camera comedies and daring animated fare the Fox network has been known to favour over the years.
When Allen’s program, in which he plays a sporting-goods retail executive and father of three daughters who sneers at political correctness, was cancelled last year, conservative pundits claimed it was done in by Hollywood liberals who disagreed with star’s own right-leaning political views.
Last Man Standing was actually dropped by ABC because the network was losing money on the show.
The network was unable to sell ads on the program at a high enough rate to cover the cost of the licence fee paid to Fox’s TV studio.
— Los Angeles Times