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    CBS's New Shows Feature A Whole Lot Of White Guys

    The network clearly hopes fans of Dr. Phil, Training Day, MacGyver, Friends, Community, and Parenthood will love their new shows too.

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    CBS opened its annual press breakfast with Leslie Moonves, chairman, president and CEO of CBS Corporation; Glenn Geller, president of CBS Entertainment; and Kelly Kahl, senior executive vice president of CBS Primetime, all saying the same thing: CBS is the No. 1 broadcast network, with or without the Super Bowl, with or without football.

    Yes, CBS is the most stable of the broadcast networks, but it still faces the same terrifying viewer erosion as its competition. So even though the network renewed 15 shows — dramas, comedies, and reality stalwarts Survivor and The Amazing Race — all of them are down in the ratings from previous seasons. And CBS did not find any new hits during the 2015–2016 season.

    Its 2016–2017 schedule is the first with Geller at the helm, and he's relying on a few star producers, such as Jerry Bruckheimer (Training Day) and Steven Spielberg (Bull), to help his chances of success. The company is also putting considerable resources into its new online platform CBS All Access with its Bryan Fuller–led Star Trek series and a just-announced Good Wife spin-off starring Christine Baranski and Cush Jumbo. But on air, Geller is relying on familiar faces (Matt LeBlanc, Michael Weatherly, Joel McHale, Kevin James) and properties (MacGyver, Training Day) to draw in viewers next season.

    "[We're] focusing on comedy — big comedy, big, big stars," Geller said. "I think we've accomplished that in a big way. On the drama side, we do what we do well: good procedurals and procedurals with a strong character at the center of it."

    Michael Yarish / Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

    The Big Bang Theory.

    Kahl told reporters the network's goal coming into the season was to "get a little better, get a little younger" and that "complacency is a dirty word."

    That translates to CBS using its biggest shows — The Big Bang Theory and NCIS — to launch three of its new series this fall: Kevin Can Wait, starring Kevin James, will follow Big Bang on Mondays; Bull, starring Michael Weatherly, will follow NCIS on Tuesdays; and The Great Indoors, starring Joel McHale, will debut with Big Bang after football ends on Thursdays.

    But little is changing with CBS's returning shows, though the network is trying to bolster its 10 p.m. hour, where it had significant problems this season. For example, Scorpion shifts to 10 p.m. on Mondays and NCIS: New Orleans slides to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays. Elsewhere, CBS is plugging in The Great Indoors to replace the late Angel From Hell on Thursdays; MacGyver will kick off Fridays in the fall; and on Sundays, there are some shifts to accommodate the losses of The Good Wife and CSI: CyberNCIS: Los Angeles moves from Mondays to Sundays at 8 p.m. and Madam Secretary shifts to 9 p.m.

    David M. Russell / CBS


    It didn't go unnoticed at the press breakfast that so many of CBS's new shows feature white men in the lead roles. Speaking to that gender imbalance, Geller defended CBS: "We're the network that has Madam Secretary, 2 Broke Girls, and Mom. We have lots of female leads. We also have Doubt with Katherine Heigl. I think we have a great balance." As for the overwhelming whiteness, he continued, "Actually, our new series are more diverse this year than last year. I think we're moving in the right direction."

    That direction will not include Supergirl, which will move to The CW for Season 2, or any installment of the CSI franchise, for the first time in 16 years. Geller said that he believes Supergirl found the right home at their sibling network and that CSI "may come back in another incarnation" one day.

    He also addressed the rumor that CBS decided not to pick up the Nancy Drew pilot, Drew, because it "skewed too female," according to Deadline. The project starred Sarah Shahi as a thirtysomething Nancy Drew, working as an NYPD detective. "That's just not true," Geller said of Deadline's report. "We have a number of pilots to choose from and we chose the best pilots."

    Also still not on the CBS schedule at this point is Limitless, which Geller said is being shopped around to other networks. But it seems the series won't return to CBS.

    Whether there will be a critics' favorite among this new crop of CBS shows to replace The Good Wife — always in the Emmys conversation — remains to be seen, but it's also possible that CBS has bigger priorities these days.

    Here's what they have coming to TV in the 2016-2017 season.

    Kevin Can Wait (Mondays at 8:30 p.m., moving to 8 p.m. after football)

    David Giesbrecht / CBS

    Who's in it? Kevin James, Erinn Hayes, Taylor Spreitler, Mary-Charles Jones, James DiGiacomo, Ryan Cartwright

    Who created it? Bruce Helford, Rock Reuben, Jeff Sussman, Andy Fickman

    What's it about? James plays a retired cop who learns that being at home is more stressful than keeping criminals off the street.

    First impression? If any part of you is actually excited by the idea of Kevin James starring in another sitcom where he plays a schlubby dude with a hot wife, then Kevin Can Wait is exactly what you wanted. If you’re me, you’re upset the supremely funny Erinn Hayes (the aforementioned hot wife) is going to be stuck on this garbage show for the next decade. —Jarett Wieselman

    Premieres Mon., Sept. 19 at 8:30 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    Bull (Tuesdays at 9 p.m.)


    Who's in it? Michael Weatherly, Freddy Rodriguez, Geneva Carr, Chris Jackson, Jaime Lee Kirchner, Annabelle Attanasio

    Who created it? Paul Attanasio, Dr. Phillip C. McGraw, Steven Spielberg, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Jay McGraw

    What's it about? Dr. Phil is producing this drama inspired by his early life as a trial consultant. NCIS alum Michael Weatherly takes on the larger-than-life role of "the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick," according to CBS.

    First impression? I carry an epi pen for my Dr. Phil allergy (I'm just as much of a doctor as he is, and I prescribed it to myself). But of the trailers for CBS's four dramas, Bull was the only one that seemed to know what it's about: a brash central character who makes a living by observing tiny things and proving everyone else wrong. We've seen this show before — including on House, which executive producer Paul Attanasio co-created — but that's OK! It's a tried and true procedural setup. Weatherly left NCIS 20 seconds ago, and now he is the star around which Bull will revolve, and his brand of obnoxious charm seems well-suited for this character. The trailer gives away the entire plot of the pilot, if you want to know what you'd be in for when you watch Bull. —Kate Aurthur

    Premieres Tues., Sept. 20 at 9 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    Man With a Plan (Mondays at 8:30 p.m. after football)

    Darren Michaels / CBS

    Who's in it? Matt LeBlanc, Jessica Chaffin, Matt Cook, Grace Kaufman, Hala Finley, Matthew McCann

    Who created it? Jeff & Jackie Filgo, Matt LeBlanc, Michael Rotenberg, Troy Zien

    What's it about? When his wife goes back to work, a dad (LeBlanc) takes on the role of Mr. Mom and discovers that his kids are the worst.

    First impression? If someone were to tell me in 2004 that Matt LeBlanc would star on a network comedy far worse than Joey in my lifetime, I would not have believed that person. But here we are, just 12 years later, with CBS's new companion frazzled-fatherhood sitcom to Kevin Can Wait. LeBlanc plays Adam, whose wife (Jenna Fischer, who's in the trailer but has been recast) goes back to work, leaving him to take care of their three kids full-time. How dare she? And how dare he be expected to volunteer at school like his wife did or know that these kids need to eat, drink, and be told to pick up their things? He's just their dad! LeBlanc has little chemistry with his onscreen children and so little with Fischer that she was ousted. Also, Adam is one of seemingly...I don't know, every new leading white man on CBS who is vaguely homophobic and definitely misogynistic. Please, no. —Jaimie Etkin

    MacGyver (Fridays at 8 p.m.)

    Ron P. Jaffe / CBS

    Who's in it? Lucas Till, George Eads

    Who created it? Peter Lenkov, Henry Winkler, Lee Zlotoff, James Wan, Michael Clear

    What's it about? The beloved '80s/'90s TV series gets a modern-day update with Till in the super-capable lead role.

    First impression? I am 1,000,000% not the audience for this show. Nevertheless, I don't think its target audience will be into it either. Exhibit A: the gentleman behind me who yelled "Yes!" before this played at CBS's upfront presentation, but did not even clap afterward. Lucas Till has been boring since I first saw him onscreen as the love interest in Hannah Montana: The Movie, and somehow he manages to make explosions and crossbows yawn-inducing here. The haircut is the least of his problems. The effects look great and George Eads is likable as MacGyver's rebellious partner, Lincoln, but no bubble gum or Q-tip could save this one. —Jaimie Etkin

    Premieres Fri., Sept. 23 at 8 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    Premieres Mon., Oct. 24 at 8:30 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    The Great Indoors (Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.)

    Cliff Lipson / CBS

    Who's in it? Joel McHale, Stephen Fry, Chris Williams, Shaun Brown, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Christine Ko, Susannah Fielding

    Who created it? Mike Gibbons, Chris Harris

    What's it about? Community star McHale plays an adventure reporter who trades his life exploring the wilderness for a desk job managing a group of twentysomething writers at a magazine.

    First impression? Judging by the cut-down, the new CBS comedy that seems to be its funniest has gotten its best time slot, after The Big Bang Theory. Logical! Putting McHale up against what his character sees as a bunch of whining millennials might grow old at some point, but The Great Indoors seems to have energy, as well as an idea of what it is. Cranky Bear Grylls at the office! —Kate Aurthur

    Premieres Thurs., Oct. 27 at 8:30 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    Pure Genius (Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

    Sonja Flemming / CBS

    Who's in it? Augustus Prew, Dermot Mulroney, Brenda Song, Reshma Shetty, Ward Horton, Aaron Jennings, Odette Annable

    Who created it? Jason Katims, Michelle Lee

    What's it about? A Silicon Valley millionaire taps a veterinarian to lead a hospital that intends to attempt risky — but potentially groundbreaking — procedures.

    First impression? This show comes from Jason Katims, the brain (and heart) behind Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, two shows I aggressively adore. So he’s got a lot of goodwill from critics and audiences coming into this tech-driven medical drama. And while the trailer makes the show look like a straightforward procedural, Katims fans know better. There could be a lot more to this show than meets the eye, which will probably be watering very soon. —Jarett Wieselman

    Premieres Thurs., Oct. 27 at 10 p.m.

    View this video on YouTube

    Training Day (Mid-season)

    Michael Yarish / CBS

    Who's in it? Bill Paxton, Justin Cornwell, Drew Van Acker, Katrina Law, Lex Scott Davis, Julie Benz

    Who created it? Jerry Bruckheimer, Antoine Fuqua, Jonathan Littman, Will Beall, Barry Schindel

    What's it about? Based on the 2001 movie starring Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, the series picks up 15 years later and focuses on a young LAPD police officer who is paired with an ethically questionable detective.

    First impression? In Fuqua's film — for which Washington won Best Actor for his portrayal of a terrifying, corrupt, murderous narcotics officer — the black man was the bad guy, and his younger, white partner (Hawke) was the hero. That's reversed here, with Paxton in the Washington role (though not literally). From the trailer, it appears that the premise of the drama is that the younger black man thinks he can "train" his partner. Do American viewers these days want to watch a show about a rogue white cop who plays by his own rules? Or any cop lawlessly doing what he wants? Speaking for myself, I do not! —Kate Aurthur

    View this video on YouTube

    Doubt (Mid-season)

    JoJo Whilden / CBS

    Who's in it? Katherine Heigl, Steven Pasquale, Laverne Cox, Dulé Hill, Dreama Walker, Elliott Gould, Kobi Libii

    Who created it? Tony Phelan, Joan Rater, Carl Beverly, Sarah Timberman

    What's it about? The successful head of a law firm begins to fall in love with her client, who stands accused of a heinous crime that he may or may not have committed. (CBS did not show a trailer for Doubt.)

    Ransom (TBD)


    Who's in it? Luke Roberts

    Who created it? Frank Spotnitz, David Vainola

    What's it about? This late addition to CBS's 2016-2017 slate, which the network picked up straight to series, centers on Eric Beaumont (Roberts), who's inspired by real-life renowned crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert — aka he's the Olivia Pope to Combalbert's Judy Smith. Ransom will follow Eric as he resolves kidnappings and ransom cases. And of course, how his job complicates relationships with his family, friends, and co-workers.

    Superior Donuts (TBD)

    Michael Yarish / CBS

    Who's in it? Jermaine Fowler, Judd Hirsch

    Who created it? Neil Goldman, Garrett Donovan, Bob Daily

    What's it about? The show, based on a play by Tracy Letts, focuses on an unlikely relationship between the grizzled owner of a donut store and his new employee.

    Here’s CBS’s fall 2016 schedule:


    The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m.

    *Kevin Can Wait 8:30 p.m.

    Two Broke Girls 9 p.m.

    The Odd Couple 9:30 p.m.

    Scorpion 10 p.m.

    Monday post-football

    *Kevin Can Wait 8 p.m.

    *Man With a Plan 8:30 p.m.

    Two Broke Girls 9 p.m.

    The Odd Couple 9:30 p.m.

    Scorpion 10 p.m.


    NCIS 8 p.m.

    *Bull 9 p.m.

    NCIS: New Orleans 10 p.m.


    Survivor 8 p.m.

    Criminal Minds 9 p.m.

    Code Black 10 p.m.


    NFL Thursday Night Football 8 p.m.

    Thursday post-football

    The Big Bang Theory 8 p.m.

    *The Great Indoors 8:30 p.m.

    Mom 9 p.m.

    Life in Pieces 9:30 p.m.

    *Pure Genius 10 p.m.


    *MacGyver 8 p.m.

    Hawaii Five-0 9 p.m.

    Blue Bloods 10 p.m.


    Crimetime Saturday 8 p.m.

    Crimetime Saturday 9 p.m.

    48 Hours 10 p.m.


    60 Minutes 7 p.m.

    NCIS: Los Angeles 8 p.m.

    Madam Secretary 9 p.m.

    Elementary 10 p.m.

    Note: An asterisk (*) indicates a new show for the 2016–2017 season.

    Note: In mid-May every year, the five television broadcast networks — NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, and The CW — present their new shows and upcoming schedules to advertisers at events called "the upfronts." That's why you see an onslaught of new programming in May, as well as the cancellation of current shows. This post will be continually updated.


    Superior Donuts was picked up by CBS on Sept. 21 and has been added to this story.

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