CBS want to do something a bit different this year, but not too different.
The revivals and reboots have tempered off from last year, there’s been some big changes in the corporate upper ranks, and there’s a dramatic turn the nation’s most-watched network is taking on Mondays in the fall: a judicial bet with Luke Cage alum Simone Missick, along with a true opposites-attract tale in the Chuck Lorre comedy Bob ♥ Abishola.
Yes, the day before mega-hit The Big Bang Theory has its series finale, CBS has tried to go for a diverse shift with parts of its 2019-20 fall schedule. At the same time, there are a lot of familiar faces and names on both side of the camera including Big Bang Theory co-creator Lorre, The Good Wife‘s masterminds Michelle King and Robert King plus more FBI from Dick Wolf next season. Along with the on-screen return of Everyone Love Raymond‘s Patricia Heaton and NCIS vet Pauley Perrette, CBS’ tried and true formulas for the most part still dominate the net’s five new shows for the fall and the midseason contenders.
“Our new lineup features both classic CBS shows and genres that viewers love, as well as some new series that push the boundaries of what you might expect from us,” CBS Entertainment president Kelly Kahl sad Wednesday morning before the net’s annual upfronts breakfast in New York City. “We are also saving some very strong series for the second part of the year as part of a strategy to roll out new and returning series throughout the season.”
As Kahl later said concisely at the breakfast Wednesday: “Stable but not sleepy, aggressive but not reckless.”
Check out CBS’ fall 2019-20 schedule below, followed by scheduling information, brief analysis and detailed descriptions of the network’s new series.
CBS FALL 2019-20 SCHEDULE
(New programs in UPPER CASE)
8-8:30 PM –The Neighborhood
8:30-9 PM — BOB ♥ ABISHOLA
9-10 PM — ALL RISE
10-11 PM — Bull
8-9 PM — NCIS
9-10 PM — FBI
10-11 PM — NCIS: New Orleans
8-9 PM — Survivor
9-10 PM — SEAL Team
10-11 PM — S.W.A.T.
8-8:30 PM — Young Sheldon
8:30-9 PM –THE UNICORN
9-9:30 PM — Mom
9:30-10 PM — CAROL’S SECOND ACT
10-11 PM — EVIL
8-9 PM — Hawaii Five-0
9-10 PM — Magnum P.I.
10-11 PM — Blue Bloods
8-9 PM — Crimetime Saturday
9-10 PM — Crimetime Saturday
10-11 PM — 48 Hours
7-8 PM — 60 Minutes
8-9 PM — God Friended Me
9-10 PM — NCIS: Los Angeles
10-11 PM — Madam Secretary
Let’s be honest here, the Big Bang Theory-less schedule CBS unveiled today is not one the network wished to see. From Interim CEO Joe Ianniello to creative head David Nevins and Entertainment boss Kahl, everyone at CBS would have loved to see the good times and big numbers the 12-season comedy delivered continue.
But all good things must come to an end. To that end, the network that gets accused of being too white and too bland has pivoted into more potentially relevant territory with its new additions to Monday’s and Thursday’s primetime lineup.
However, playing to laugh-track strengths and the bottom line, the hope is that Lorre can help replace his own successes with Bob ♥ Abishola, and that the Walton Goggins-led The Unicorn can connect with an aging and changing America. If that connection for either newbies achieves just a healthy slice of BBT’s returns, CBS execs will be doing happy dances up and down the halls in Studio City and Black Rock.
On a more serious note, issues of the cultural, racial, and generational divides in today’s America are weaved all through the network’s upcoming schedule, and you have to give the often-criticized CBS credit for attempting to finally address that. Be it the hand of Showtime boss Nevins in his new-ish additional role as Chief Creative Officer, or the removal of Les Moonves from his CEO perch last September amidst a burgeoning sexual harassment scandal, there is distinct change at CBS this season.
On screen, we’re seeing different voices and faces of color, gender and economic status in leading roles more representative of what America is in 2019. The Missick-led new drama All Rise has a lot of the typical crime justice system tropes primetime procedurals have trafficked in for decades, but, like the Kings’ Evil with Luke Cage and The Good Wife alum Mike Colter, it also goes into deeper realms.
Of course, with a few tweaks here and there, like S.W.A.T. moving back to 10 PM on Wednesdays, most of CBS’ upcoming schedule looks a lot like its previous schedule — as seems to be the case for most of the nets this year. Although credit must be given to the genius that decided to put in almost all the Friday chips on Tom Selleck, with the second season of the Jay Hernandez-led Magnum P.I. revival moving to Fridays as the lead-in to 10 PM’s viewership big dog Blue Bloods. Now that’s some programming!
In that context, take a look below at the new fare that CBS has coming in the fall and midseason, per the network.
NEW SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
BOB ♥ ABISHOLA — From award-winning creator, executive producer and writer Chuck Lorre, BOB ♥ ABISHOLA is a love story about a middle-aged compression sock businessman from Detroit who unexpectedly falls for his cardiac nurse, a Nigerian immigrant, while recovering from a heart attack and sets his sights on winning her over. Undaunted by Abishola’s (Folake Olowofoyeku) lack of initial interest or the vast differences in their backgrounds, Bob (Billy Gardell) is determined to win Abishola’s heart, in this comedic examination of immigrant life in America. Chuck Lorre, Eddie Gorodetsky, Al Higgins and Beth McCarthy-Miller (pilot only) are executive producers for Chuck Lorre Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. McCarthy-Miller directed the pilot from a script by Lorre, Gorodetsky, Higgins and Gina Yashere.
BOB ♥ ABISHOLA stars Billy Gardell as Bob, Folake Olowofoyeku as Abishola, Christine Ebersole as Dottie, Matt Jones as Douglas, Maribeth Monroe as Christine, Vernee Watson as Gloria, Shola Adewusi as Auntie Olu, Barry Shabaka Henley as Uncle Tunde and Travis Wolfe Jr. as Dele.
CAROL’s SECOND ACT — Emmy Award winner Patricia Heaton stars in CAROL’S SECOND ACT, a comedy about a woman who embarks on a unique second act after raising her children, getting divorced and retiring from teaching: pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. At age 50, Carol is a medical intern and must sink or swim with peers who are half her age. It’s her enthusiasm, perspective and yes, even her age, that may be exactly what will make her second act a great success. Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins; Patricia Heaton, Adam Griffin, David Hunt and Rebecca Stay (Four Boys Entertainment); Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor (Kapital Entertainment); and Pamela Fryman (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Fryman directed the pilot from a script by Halpern and Haskins.
CAROL’S SECOND ACT stars Patricia Heaton as Carol Kenney, Kyle MacLachlan as Dr. Frost, Ito Aghayere as Dr. Maya Jacobs, Jean-Luc Bilodeau as Daniel and Sabrina Jalees as Lexie. Lucas Neff guest stars as Caleb.
THE UNICORN — THE UNICORN is a single-camera comedy about a tight-knit group of best friends and family who helps Wade (Walton Goggins) embrace his “new normal” in the wake of the loss of his wife one year ago. As a sometimes ill-equipped but always devoted single parent to his two adolescent daughters, he is taking the major step of dating again. To Wade’s amazement, he’s a hot commodity with women, and his friends explain that he’s the perfect single guy – a “unicorn”: employed, attractive, and with a proven track record of commitment. With his daughters and best friends rooting him on and hoping he’ll find happiness again, Wade and his healing heart are ready to try life… and love… again. Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Aaron Kaplan, Dana Honor, Wendi Trilling, Peyton Reed, and John Hamburg (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Hamburg directed the pilot from a script by Martin and Schiff.
THE UNICORN stars Walton Goggins as Wade, Rob Corddry as Forrest, Michaela Watkins as Delia, Omar Benson Miller as Ben, Maya Lynne Robinson as Michelle, Ruby Jay as Grace, and Makenzie Moss as Natalie.
BROKE (Midseason) — Jaime Camil and Pauley Perrette star in BROKE, a comedy about Jackie (Perrette), a single suburban mother who’s shocked when her estranged sister, Elizabeth (Natasha Leggero), her sister’s outrageously wealthy, big-hearted husband, Javier (Camil), and Javier’s fiercely loyal assistant/driver/friend, Luis (Izzy Diaz), land on her doorstep in need of a place to live after the couple’s money dries up. Though class differences may separate the women, and the size of the house and the number of people living in it will test the limits of family ties, the familial bond of sisterhood might be the catalyst they need to restore their relationship. Emmy Award winner Alex Herschlag (“Will & Grace,” “Modern Family”), Jennie Snyder Urman (“Jane the Virgin”), Joanna Klein, Ben Silverman, Jaime Camil, Guillermo Restrepo, Gonzalo Cilley and Maria Lucia Hernandez are executive producers for CBS Television Studio/Sutton Street Prods./Propagate, with creative partners RCN TV and Resonant TV. Victor Gonzalez directed the pilot from a script by Herschlag.
BROKE stars Jaime Camil as Javier, Pauley Perrette as Jackie, Natasha Leggero as Elizabeth, Izzy Diaz as Luis and Antonio Corbo as Sammy.
ALL RISE — All Rise is a courthouse drama that follows the chaotic, hopeful and sometimes absurd lives of its judges, prosecutors and public defenders, as they work with bailiffs, clerks and cops to get justice for the people of Los Angeles amidst a flawed legal process. Among them is newly appointed Judge Lola Carmichael (Simone Missick), a highly regarded and impressive deputy district attorney who doesn’t intend to sit back on the bench in her new role, but instead leans in, immediately pushing the boundaries and challenging the expectations of what a judge can be. Greg Spottiswood, Len Goldstein and Emmy Award winner Michael M. Robin are executive producers for Warner Bros. Television. Robin directed the pilot from a script by Spottiswood.
ALL RISE stars Simone Missick as Lola Carmichael, Wilson Bethel as Mark Callan, Marg Helgenberger as Judith Benner, Jessica Camacho as Emily Lopez, J. Alex Brinson as Luke Watkins, Lindsay Mendez as Sara Pratt and Ruthie Ann Miles as Sherri Kanski.
EVIL — EVIL is a psychological mystery that examines the origins of evil along the dividing line between science and religion. The series focuses on a skeptical female psychologist who joins a priest-in-training and a carpenter as they investigate the Church’s backlog of unexplained mysteries, including supposed miracles, demonic possessions and hauntings. Their job is to assess if there is a logical explanation or if something truly supernatural is at work. Michelle King, Robert King and Liz Glotzer are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Robert King directed the pilot.
EVIL stars Katja Herbers as Kristen Bouchard, Mike Colter as David Acosta, Aasif Mandvi as Ben Shroff, Michael Emerson as Leland Townsend, Brooklyn Shuck as Lynn Bouchard, Skylar Gray as Lila Bouchard, Maddy Crocco as Lexis Bouchard and Dalya Knapp as Laura Bouchard.
FBI: MOST WANTED (Midseason) — From Emmy Award winner Dick Wolf and the team behind FBI and the “Law & Order” franchise, FBI: MOST WANTED is a high-stakes drama that focuses on the Fugitive Task Force, which relentlessly tracks and captures the notorious criminals on the Bureau’s Most Wanted list. Seasoned agent Jess LaCroix (Julian McMahon) oversees the highly skilled team that functions as a mobile undercover unit that is always out in the field, pursuing those who are most desperate to elude justice. Dick Wolf, René Balcer, Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski are executive producers for Wolf Entertainment and Universal Television in association with CBS Television Studios. Fred Berner directed the pilot from a script by Balcer.
FBI: MOST WANTED stars Julian McMahon as Jess LaCroix, Alana De La Garza as Isobel Castille, Keisha Castle-Hughes as Hana Gibson, Kellan Lutz as Crosby, Roxy Sternberg as Sheryll Barnes and Nathaniel Arcand as Clinton Skye.
TOMMY (Midseason) — Multiple Emmy Award winner Edie Falco stars in TOMMY as a former high-ranking NYPD officer who becomes the first female Chief of Police for Los Angeles. A true blue New Yorker, Abigail “Tommy” Thomas (Falco) uses her unflinching honesty and hardball tactics to keep social, political and national security issues from hindering effective law enforcement in the Southland. Equal parts political, procedural and family drama, TOMMY comes from Paul Attanasio, the creator of the acclaimed series BULL, “House M.D.” and “Homicide: Life on the Street.” Paul Attanasio, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey and Kate Dennis (pilot only) are executive producers for CBS Television Studios. Kate Dennis directed the pilot from a script by Attanasio.
TOMMY stars Edie Falco as Abigail “Tommy” Thomas, Michael Chernus as Ken Rosey, Adelaide Clemens as Blake Sullivan, David Fierro as Buddy Boyardi, Russell G. Jones as Aurelius Looper, Olivia Lucy Phillip as Kate Jones, and Joseph Lyle Taylor as Treat Dudik