Entertainment trade journal Variety published a feature this weekend detailing the very strong possibility that at least one of CBS’ three “CSI” series could experience a shakeup for next year’s schedule.
All three–Monday’s “CSI: Miami,” Wednesday’s “CSI: NY” and Thursday’s “CSI”–have softened this year, declining to young adult demographic ratings that very often are not enough to win their respective timeslots.
More troubling is the fact that the three shows all benefit from CBS’ strongest weekly lead-ins. “CSI: Miami” receives help from top-rated comedies “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory,” while the popular and similarly-skewing “Criminal Minds” opens into “CSI: NY.” “CSI” continues to receive viewers from the perpetually successful “Survivor” series.
As they are declining rather rapidly–“CSI: Miami” recently lost its timeslot to ABC’s moderately-performing “Castle,” “CSI: NY” lost more than 30% of its “Criminal Minds” lead-in this week en route to a loss to NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” and “CSI” has dropped from an average 2008-09 rating of 5.4 to 3.9 (with recent airings in the 3.0 realm) despite receiving fairly steady support from “Survivor”–there has been speculation that CBS might move to offer younger shows the benefit of these lead-ins come next season.
The shows perform strongly enough in the total viewership bracket to make outright cancellations seem extremely unlikely, but CBS might move away from such a “CSI”-focused schedule next year. The belief is that at least one of the shows will receive a new timeslot (“CSI: Miami” seems most likely to stay put); holding off one of the shows (most likely “CSI: NY”) until midseason might also be an appealing option for CBS, which could see value in giving its fall “Criminal Minds” lead-in to a freshman drama.
Friday has been a specific target of buzz for at least one of the shows, as they would be all be among CBS’s safest options for trying to revive scripted programming interest on that night. The network had clearly been considering moving “CSI” to 10PM on Thursdays and “The Mentalist” to 9PM, but as a one-week experiment of that move disappointed on ratings grounds earlier this, CBS’ might have gotten cold feet about the endeavor.
— On the subject of CBS’ procedural franchises, THRFeed reported this weekend that the “Criminal Minds” spin-off has generally been viewed as a disappointment by insiders. While the appeal of the “Criminal Minds” brand name and its star Forest Whitaker might still earn the show a spot on next year’s lineup, it is definitely not coming out of pilot season as CBS’ hottest drama prospect (contrary to last year’s “NCIS: LA,” which was considered one of the season’s biggest sure-things).